Spotlight on Dr. Carolyn Slupsky's Work on Formula-Fed Infants

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These important finders were reported in the June issue of the Journal of Proteome Research in the article "Early Diet Impacts Infant Rhesus Gut Microbiome, Immunity, and Metabolism." Dr. Slupsky and her colleagues used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to look at how diet affects compounds in blood and urine in infant rhesus monkeys, which provide an animal model similar to humans in this type of research. After just four weeks, the formula-fed infants were larger than their breast-fed counterparts, had developed distinct bacterial communities in their gut, had higher insulin levels and were metabolizing amino acids differently.

“We’re not saying formula-fed babies will grow up with health issues, but these results indicate that choice of infant feeding may hold future consequences,” said Slupsky, lead author of the study and also a faculty member in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology.

Dr. Slupsky affirmed that mother's milk is an excellent source of nutrition for infants and it cannot currently be replicated in formula. Dr. Slupsky and her team are now working to compare how compounds in breast milk differ between mothers and at different times during lactation, as well as how different formulas with varying nutrient content affect infant metabolism.