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Nutrition. 2007 Oct;23(10):719-23. Epub 2007 Jul 30.

Effect of prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharide, long-chain fructo-oligosaccharide infant formula on serum cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Virga Jesseziekenhuis, Hasselt, Belgium.



Cholesterol is a nutrient of essential importance in infant feeding because it is necessary in membrane development. In adults with high lipid levels, high doses of inulin (oligofructose) inconsistently decreased levels of serum cholesterol. The aim of the present study was to evaluate cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels in infants receiving a formula with a specific mixture of 0.6 g/100 mL of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (lcFOS) in a ratio of 9/1, a control formula, or breast milk. Because the level of lcFOS in the infant milk is low, we hypothesized that there would be no differences between the formula groups.


Two hundred fifteen infants were included in a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial during the first 6 mo of life. Formula-fed infants were randomized to receive a standard infant formula with a specific mixture of 0.6 g/100 mL of GOS/lcFOS, in a ratio of 9/1, or a control formula. Breast-fed infants were randomized to receive one of these two formulas after the mother had decided to discontinue breastfeeding. Serum levels of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triacylglycerol were determined at 8 and 26 wk of age and were provided for infants who received the GOS/lcFOS formula or control formula from birth or after cessation of breastfeeding and for the subgroups that were fully fed with breast milk and formula.


One hundred eighty-seven infants completed the study. Total cholesterol and LDL levels at 8 and 26 wk were significantly lower in the formula-fed groups than in the breast-fed infants. There were no significant differences between the formula-fed groups. Levels of triacylglycerols and high-density lipoprotein did not differ between groups.


Our study demonstrated no differences in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in infants receiving an infant formula with GOS/lcFOS from infants receiving a control infant formula. Furthermore, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were higher in breast-fed infants than in formula-fed infants.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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