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How does sn-2 palmitate impact gut health?

Date: Friday, Aug 14, 2020

The gut microflora, also called gut microbiota, is comprised of several hundred species of microbes that live in the digestive tracts of humans.1 It’s been said that 70% of the immune system is located in the gut.2 Hence, it is important that a child receives appropriate nutrients to strengthen both the immune and digestive systems.

In the early years, the gut microbiota of your child plays a vital role in facilitating optimum growth and development. It not only assists in food digestion and absorption of nutrients, but also helps in protecting your child against harmful microbes and strengthening his/her immune system.3

The gut microbiota consists of “good” and “bad” microbes and is largely established during the first few years of life. As one gets older, it is essential to maintain the overall balance between the good ones and the bad ones. One’s dietary choices can help keep a healthy mix of microbes in the gut in two ways: one can consume beneficial bacteria that are added to food or drinks (probiotics) or one can eat certain foods that allow good bacteria to flourish in the gut (prebiotics).

Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are probiotic bacteria that help prevent the passage of bad bacteria through the intestinal wall, inhibit harmful microbes and support immune health.4 Children who had these two types of bacteria also tend to be less fussy and cried less during the first six months of life.5

Consumption of formula milk containing high sn-2 palmitate has been shown to positively affect the gut microbiota of young children, as shown by higher numbers of beneficial microbes such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in their stools, compared with those who received formula milk with low sn-2 palmitate.6

Compelling evidence from a large study involving 300 healthy children confirmed that the consumption of formula milk with a high content of sn-2 palmitate increased the concentrations of stool bifidobacteria, suggesting increased levels beneficial bifidobacteria in the gut.7

Considering the important role of the gut microbiota in helping the gut and the immune system to mature and develop, a healthy gut microflora has not only short-term, but also life-long consequences on health. It is important to ensure that your gut houses a good mix of beneficial bacteria.


  • 1. Sekirov I, Russell SL, Antunes LC, Finlay BB. Gut microbiota in health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2010;90(3):859–904.
  • 2. Vighi G, Marcucci F, Sensi L, Di Cara G, Frati F. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008;153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):3-6.
  • 3. Zhuang L, Chen H, Zhang S, Zhuang J, Li Q, Feng Z. Intestinal Microbiota in Early Life and Its Implications on Childhood Health. Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2019;17(1):13–25.
  • 4. Azad MAK, Sarker M, Li T, Yin J. Probiotic Species in the Modulation of Gut Microbiota: An Overview. Biomed Res Int. 2018 May 8;2018:9478630.
  • 5. Pärtty A, Kalliomäki M, Endo A, Salminen S, Isolauri E. Compositional development of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus microbiota is linked with crying and fussing in early infancy. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32495.
  • 6. Yaron S, Shachar D, Abramas L, et al. Effect of high β-palmitate content in infant formula on the intestinal microbiota of term infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013;56(4):376–381.
  • 7. Yao M, Lien EL, Capeding MR, et al. Effects of term infant formulas containing high sn-2 palmitate with and without oligofructose on stool composition, stool characteristics, and bifidogenicity. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014;59(4):440–448.


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