ALPHA-LAC's EFFECT ON GASTROINTESTINAL AND IMMUNE FUNCTION
The infant gut is immature, and several factors influence its development, most notably the nutrients and bioactive compounds found in milk. Alpha-lactalbumin likely exerts some of its beneficial impact on gut development and immune health through the release of bioactive peptides in the small intestine which have been found to have antimicrobial and prebiotic benefits. Furthermore, a study in rhesus monkeys found a lower incidence of E. coli induced diarrhea in those fed an alpha-enriched formula vs standard formula.
ALPHA-LAC AND FORMULA
The use of alpha-lactalbumin in infant formula enables a lowering of the overall protein of a formula, while still satisfying the infant’s amino acid requirements. This may help optimize growth, development and long term metabolic and general health.
ALPHA-LACTALBUMIN AND SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE
Sleep is critical for infant growth and development, particularly brain development (Layman et al, 2018). Serotonin and melatonin are known to be key regulators of sleep across the lifespan; however, serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, thus it must be synthesized within the brain. The amino acid tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin and an amino acid able to cross the blood-brain barrier, hence it plays an important role in serotonin production. Alpha-lactalbumin is richer in tryptophan, thus may support the sleep-wake cycle in infants. In fact, feeding a tryptophan-rich infant formula at night has been shown to enhance sleep efficiency and total sleep time.