Which hydrolysates do you offer for the infant nutrition market?
We produce Hyvital® protein hydrolysates specifically designed for infant nutrition. We offer Hyvital ® protein hydrolysates to be used in hypo-allergenic and specialized formulas. Most of these hydrolysates are based on whey or casein. For the hypo-allergenic formulas we classify two focus areas:
- CMA products, intended for formulas for infants suffering from cow’s milk allergy.
- HA products intended for formulas to reduce the risk of developing an allergy to cow’s milk.
For the specialized formulas we focus on easy-to-digest and phosphopeptides containing hydrolysates.
Where can I find background information on hydrolysates for hypoallergenic formulas?
You can find an extensive overview on hydrolysates for hypoallergenic formulas here
What is cow’s milk allergy?
Cow’s milk allergy is an immunological reaction whereby the body mistakenly perceives milk protein as harmful. Cow’s milk allergy in infancy has a serious impact on both the baby and its mother. Babies who are allergic to cow’s milk also suffer from problems like eczema, wheezing, diarrhoea, reflux and extreme vomiting.
What is the difference between cow’s milk allergy and lactose intolerance?
Cow’s milk allergy is often confused with lactose intolerance. Hypersensitivity to food can be non-allergic hypersensitivity and allergic hypersensitivity. In the non-allergic type, also called intolerance, the immune system is not involved. Lactose intolerance is an example of this type of hypersensitivity, which is due to lack of the lactose-degrading enzyme lactase. The allergic hypersensitivity, also called food allergy, can be divided into Immunoglobulin E-mediated and non-IgE-mediated food allergy. Cow’s milk allergy can be IgE-mediated or non-IgE-mediated, whereby it has been shown that IgE-mediated reactions are more common in infancy and non-IgE-mediated reactions dominate in adults.
What is the mechanism of an allergic reaction?
The mechanism of IgE-mediated food allergy comprises of a two-step process. After the first contact with the food allergen, the allergen will be attached to antigen-presenting cells, which will in turn present the antigen to T-cells. These T-cells then stimulate B-cells to produce antibodies specific to the antigen, the specific immunoglobulin E or IgE. These antibodies will be bound to IgE receptors present on mast cells. This process is called sensitisation. After the next exposure to the food allergen, mast cell-bound IgE recognises the allergen and gets cross-linked, followed by a release of mediators which in turn cause allergic reactions. If this allergen is milk protein, for example beta-lactoglobulin, we call it cow’s milk allergy.
How do hydrolysates reduce the risk of cow’s milk allergy?
Hydrolysis of the milk protein reduces the allergenic potential of the protein. In milk proteins, many epitopes are present, which are specific surface features on a protein and can be recognised by the immune system. The binding of an epitope by two IgE antibodies is required for IgE-crosslinking, resulting in the release of inflammatory mediators, like histamine, which are responsible for allergic reactions. Enzymatic hydrolysis destroys both linear and structural epitopes of proteins and is the most effective mode to reduce the allergenicity of a protein. Therefore, infant formulas based on cow’s milk hydrolysates offer a solution as they offer all the necessary proteins, but in a predigested form.
Why do you see whey hydrolysates versus casein hydrolysates based formulas? Which one is better?
We generally see casein hydrolysates used in hypo-allergenic infant formulas for allergic infants and whey hydrolysates in hypo-allergenic formulas for at-risk infants.
Historically, hydrolysed casein was used in hypo-allergenic infant formulas, since caseins are easier to hydrolyse to non-reactive fragments due to their simpler structure. The quaternary structure of whey proteins is much more complex than that of casein and includes alpha-helixes and beta-sheets. During hydrolysis, peptide bonds are broken and the protein is split into smaller fragments. As you can imagine, the more complex protein structure of whey protects the inner structure from hydrolysis and extensive experience is required to obtain the desired type of hydrolysate. So the first hypo-allergenic infant formulas, mainly intended for already allergic infants, were based on casein hydrolysates.
However, progressive insight showed that partially hydrolysed whey protein is very effective in reducing the risk of a cow’s milk allergy in at-risk infants and may even be beneficial over extensively hydrolysed proteins in this target group, since the fragments are small enough not to induce sensitisation, but big enough to induce oral tolerance. Hydrolyzed whey also has a much better taste compared to hydrolyzed casein.
Although the complex structure of whey protein limited the use of whey protein hydrolysates in hypo-allergenic formulas for allergic infants in the past, improved technology and experience makes it possible nowadays to use whey hydrolysates in this segment. Still, we notice this market is smaller than the market of whey hydrolysate-based formulas for at-risk infants.
Blends of casein and whey hydrolysates can also be considered, to get the desired casein:whey protein ratio.
Through which sales channels can you get which product?
It depends on the country as to whether the formulas can be obtained through the medical channel, pharmacies or supermarkets and websites. Not every segment is present in all countries, for example formulas for infants at-risk are not available in the United States or Spain. In the Netherlands, hypo-allergenic infant formulas for both at-risk infants and already allergic infants are available in supermarkets and drug stores. However, for infants allergic to cow’s milk, most parents get the product from the pharmacist, since reimbursement is possible when the formula is prescribed by the Doctor. In many European countries, hypo-allergenic formulas can be retrieved from the pharmacist only. In Asia, the formulas are largely distributed via the medical channel.
How do your hydrolysates compare in performance (in terms of 1.reduction of allergencity +2. adequate nutrition) to soy or rice protein?
In cow’s milk allergy, the body mistakenly perceives that milk protein is harmful. To avoid this, the approach is to postpone the contact with intact milk protein. The preferred option is to use predigested cow’s milk protein, the hydrolysates, since the amino acid composition of the proteins in milk is very near to the infant’s amino acid requirements, much closer than the amino acid composition of soy or rice protein.
Next to milk hydrolysates, we observe a market trend for alternatives. For those infants with severe allergies, that still react on hydrolysate-based formulas, vegetable protein based formulas can be an option.
Soy protein would be a possibility, however, it is also a potential allergen and atopic infants can easily get allergic to soy as well.
Formulas based on rice hydrolysates are a promising option. Rice is the first solid food fed to infants in many cultures and it is gluten free. At FrieslandCampina Domo we have developed Hyvital® Rice CMA 500, a rice protein hydrolysates for infant formulas to meet this trend.
If an infant has an allergy to cow’s milk, why should a parent go for dairy based formulas (hydrolysates) and not for soy or rice products? This seems to be counterintuitive.
Cow’s milk is an ideal basis for the development of infant formulas. The amino acid composition of the proteins in milk is very near to the amino acid needs of the infant, much closer than the amino acid composition of soy or wheat protein. Therefore, the nutritional quality of cow’s milk is very high in comparison to vegetable proteins.
The nutritional quality of the proteins in food depends in the first place on their content of indispensible amino acids. The ideal food protein would be the protein that contains essential amino acids in exactly the same ratio as the proteins that are produced in the human body. Since this is not the case for any known food protein, each food protein has a characteristic which limits its nutritional value. This value is determined by the level of the indispensible amino acid that, relative to the body protein to be produced, is contained in the food protein in the smallest quantity. Cereal proteins may be rich in other amino acids, but their nutritional quality is limited by the lysine content. Milk proteins, on the other hand, are rich in all essential amino acids, so milk protein has a very high nutritional quality.
What is the difference between easy-to-digest or comfort formulas and hypoallergenic formulas?
Comfort formulas, also called Easy-to-Digest formulas, are intended for babies with general, non-specific gastro-intestinal problems. These formulas are often based on mildly predigested proteins, so mildly hydrolysed proteins, to facilitate the digestion process. Often other ingredients are also added, like galacto-oligo-saccharides, locust beam gum, or specific fatty acids. Comfort formulas still contain intact and immune-reactive protein fragments and are therefore not suitable for reducing the risk of cow’s milk allergy.
Where can I find background information on hydrolysates for easy-to-digest formulas?
You can find an extensive overview on hydrolysates for easy-to-digest formulas here
Where can I find the hydrolysates product range for the Infant Nutrition market?
Our range of protein hydrolysates for Infant Nutrition can be found here: