Infant Formula Kills Infants Through Cytotoxicity

The study suggests that infant formula may pose a risk to any infant with gastrointestinal problems, not just those born prematurely.

Infant formula has been implicated as possibly a major causes of death in  premature newborns, in a study conducted by researchers from the University  of California-San Diego (UCSD) and published in the journal Pediatric  Research.
For many years, scientists have known that premature  infants fed formula are significantly more likely to develop an often fatal  condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis than those fed breast milk.  Necrotizing enterocolitis is the most common gastrointestinal disease to cause  death in premature infants, but its underlying causes have been largely  unknown.
In a prior study, the UCSD researchers learned that free fatty  acids are naturally formed as a side effect of the human digestive process, and  that these fatty acids sometimes act like a "detergent" that kills cells by  rupturing their membranes. However, such cell death (cytotoxicity) is rare in  humans and in older children, perhaps due to the layer of mucus that coats the  intestines. Because the intestines of newborns - especially premature ones - are  not as well coated, the researchers wondered if free fatty acids might not be to  blame for necrotizing enterocolitis.

Formula kills intestinal and immune cells

In a study funded by the  National Institutes of Health, the researchers used pancreatic enzymes or  intestinal fluid to digest breast milk and nine different infant formulas that  are marketed for preterm and full-term infants. They tested the digested milk and formula for levels of  free fatty acids, then added the fatty acids to cells known to be involved in  necrotizing enterocolitis.
The cells tested were those lining the  intestines (epithelial), those lining the blood vessels (endothelial) and  neutrophils, a variety of white blood cell that is one of the first cell types  to respond to trauma-induced inflammation.
Across the board, formula  digestion produced free fatty acids that killed  all three types of cells, whereas breast milk digestion produced little or no  cell death. For example, between 47 and 99 percent of neutrophils died when  exposed to digested infant formula, but  only six percent of the neutrophils died when exposed to digested breast milk.  In some cases, the digested infant formula caused cell death in fewer than five  minutes.
The researchers found that the body seems to digest breast milk  in a slower, more controlled way than it digests most foods, leading to a lower  release of free fatty acids. This appears to be an adaptive mechanism to prevent  cell death in an infant's developing digestive system.
Because the risks  of feeding formula to premature babies are well-known, many neonatal intensive  care units have been making efforts to end the practice. Pediatric  gastroenterologist and UCSD professor Sharon Taylor said that the study should  help support such efforts. She noted that although breast feeding premature infants is difficult,  hospital staff can enable it by helping mothers pump their breast milk, which  can then be fed to premature infants through a tube.

Copyright: arcticle: Natural News