Intact and hydrolyzed milk protein functionality Relevance to pediatric nutrition
Protein is a critical component of the diet through the lifecycle to support essential cellular and metabolic processes and tissue maintenance, as well as body growth and development. Therefore, for those infants and children who are allergic to intact milk proteins, the use of extensively hydrolyzed protein and, in some cases, amino acid-based formulas becomes an important part of the diet to ensure adequate growth and development. In the first month of lactation, protein nitrogen in human milk is as high as ~2-5 g/L through the abundant presence of key functional proteins such as lactoferrin, sIgA, and some cytokines. These proteins are capable of surviving digestion and thereby exert several benefits that are physiologically relevant to the developing infant.