Baby formula made from goat’s milk has been found to be naturally rich in healthy prebiotics that increase good gut bacteria, new scientific research shows.
An RMIT study has found goat’s milk formula is high in naturally-occurring prebiotics (oligosaccharides), which feed helpful gut bacteria that are instrumental in supporting immunity and digestive health, maintaining a healthy weight and influencing brain function.
The three-year study analysed cow’s milk formula, fresh goat milk and Oli6 goat formula. Scientists found the Oli6 goat milk formula contained 14 naturally-occurring oligosaccharides, five of which are also found in human breast milk.
The study also measured the potential of different types of milk, formulas and artificial prebiotics to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and reduce gastrointestinal infections.
The research found that the natural oligosaccharides found in Oli6 formula were effective in promoting beneficial bacteria (bifidobacteria). The ability of harmful bacteria such as pathogenic E. coli to attach to human intestinal cells was also significantly reduced. Almost one third of all cases of diarrhoea in children are attributed to pathogenic E. coli bacteria.
Advanced accredited dietitian Melanie McGrice said the study’s findings were reassuring for mothers unable to breastfeed or needing to bottle feed babies.
“There is no doubt breast milk is best for babies, but not every new mother can breastfeed. Knowing there is a natural alternative that promotes good health can help to ease the anxiety about doing what’s best for bub,” Ms McGrice said.
“Goat milk formula is relatively new in the market and considered more an alternative for babies with allergies or an intolerance of cow’s milk formula. But this study shows its health benefits make it a stand-alone choice.”
Almost nine in 10 children under two years old are reported to experience digestive concerns, with 39 per cent of desperate mums switching formulas to try to bring their child some relief.
Emma Bowler said Oli6 proved a saviour when her then four-month-old daughter Kelsey was unable to tolerate cow’s milk formula.
“As soon as we switched to Oli6 her tummy settled and she started sleeping better,” Emma said. “Knowing Oli6 has so many natural prebiotics is another huge reassurance that Kelsey is getting the best start in life.”