The Role of Lipids in Human Milk and Infant Formulae

Alessandra Mazzocchi, Veronica D'Oria, Valentina De Cosmi, Silvia Bettocchi, Gregorio Paolo Milani, Marco Silano, Carlo Agostoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The quantity and quality of dietary lipids in infant formulae have a significant impact on health outcomes, especially when fat storing and/or absorption are limited (e.g., preterm birth and short bowel disease) or when fat byproducts may help to prevent some pathologies (e.g., atopy). The lipid composition of infant formulae varies according to the different fat sources used, and the potential biological effects are related to the variety of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. For example, since lipids are the main source of energy when the normal absorptive capacity of the digestive tract is compromised, medium-chain saturated fatty acids might cover this requirement. Instead, ruminant-derived trans fatty acids and metabolites of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids with their anti-inflammatory properties can modulate immune function. Furthermore, dietary fats may influence the nutrient profile of formulae, improving the acceptance of these products and the compliance with dietary schedules.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2018


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents/administration & dosage
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3/administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula/chemistry
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Premature/growth & development
  • Milk, Human/chemistry
  • Short Bowel Syndrome/diet therapy
  • Trans Fatty Acids/administration & dosage
  • Triglycerides/administration & dosage


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