Fortification of human donor milk with bovine colostrum resulted in better intestinal function, lower bacterial load, protein metabolism, higher weight gain and less incidences of diarrhea in preterm pigs, compared to use of a formula-based fortifier.
Nutrient fortification of human donor milk is often required to secure adequate growth and organ development after birth for very preterm infants. Several studies have recently documented that formula-based fortifiers may increase the risk of intestinal dysfunction, feeding intolerance, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Alternatives are needed to provide very preterm infants with the needed nutrients and bioactive milk factors for optimal growth.
Bovine colostrum as fortifier for human donor milk has proved feasible and without adverse effects in pilot studies. It contains high levels of nutrients and bioactive factors and several studies on preterm pigs shoved bovine colostrum to be superior to formula-based fortifiers in stimulating growth and gut maturation.
Here, preterm piglet fed donor human milk fortified with bovine colostrum were compared to preterm piglet fed donor human milk fortified with formula-based fortifiers to see is the fortification product affected growth, tissue protein synthesis, clinical variables and intestinal structure, function, and microbiology, and immunology.
This study provides important preclinical evidence for a diet-dependent response to nutrient fortification of human donor milk to preterm neonates. Compared to piglets receiving human donor milk fortified with formula-based fortifier, preterm piglets receiving human donor milk fortified with bovine colostrum showed higher growth, better intestinal function and protein utilization.
These results suggest that bovine colostrum is superior to formula-based fortifiers in promoting intestinal maturation, nutrient metabolism, and body growth.
Further studies are needed to investigate long-term effects. The relevance of bovine colostrum as nutrient fortifier for human donor milk for preterm infants should be further tested.