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Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Jan;92(1):35-41. doi: 10.1007/s00223-012-9664-8. Epub 2012 Nov 20.

High Beta-palmitate formula and bone strength in term infants: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.

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Department of Neonatology, Meir Medical Center, 59 Tchernichovsky Street, 44281, Kfar Saba, Israel.


We aimed to compare the effect of 12-week feeding of commercially available infant formulas with different percentages of palmitic acid at sn-2 (beta-palmitate) on anthropometric measures and bone strength of term infants. It was hypothesized that feeding infants with high beta-palmitate (HBP) formula will enhance their bone speed of sound (SOS). Eighty-three infants appropriate for gestational age participated in the study; of these, 58 were formula-fed and 25 breast-fed infants, serving as a reference group. The formula-fed infants were randomly assigned to receive HBP formula (43 % of the palmitic acid is esterified to the middle position of the glycerol backbone, study group; n = 30) or regular formula with low-beta palmitate (LBP, 14 % of the palmitic acid is esterified to the middle position of the glycerol backbone, n = 28). Sixty-six infants completed the 12-week study. Anthropometric and quantitative ultrasound measurements of bone SOS for assessment of bone strength were performed at randomization and at 6 and 12 weeks postnatal age. At randomization, gestational age, birth weight, and bone SOS were comparable between the three groups. At 12 weeks postnatal age, the mean bone SOS of the HBP group was significantly higher than that of the LBP group (2,896 ± 133 vs. 2,825 ± 79 m/s respectively, P = 0.049) and comparable with that of the breast-fed group (2,875 ± 85 m/s). We concluded that infants consuming HBP formula had changes in bone SOS that were comparable to those of infants consuming breast milk and favorable compared to infants consuming LBP formula.

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