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Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) supplementation and cognition


*Corresponding author
Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Palmerston North, New Zealand


This article briefly reviews the composition of the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM), the processing to obtain MFGM-rich dairy ingredients, and the recent preclinical and clinical evidence demonstrating the impact of the MFGM on cognitive development in early life but also its potential to slow cognitive decline in later life.


There has been an increasing interest in the properties of the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) and the realisation that its complex structure is more than just an interface between the fat and aqueous phases of milk. Recent studies have shown a range of functional effects associated with MFGM components, from brain and nerve development and disorders to inflammation, gut microbiota, cancer, and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases (1, 2). This article focuses on the cognitive benefits from dietary supplementation with MFGM, with an emphasis on infant nutrition.

Human milk is the gold standard for infant nutrition. It is widely recognized that the composition and structure of the fat in human milk and infant formula differ (3-5). Human milk fat globules are large droplets covered by a highly-specific MFGM, whereas infant formula fat droplets are submicronic droplets covered by milk proteins (4). In addition, infant formulae have been traditionally formulated with vegetable oils to match the fatty acid profile of human milk (3), resulting in lower levels of MFGM components. Fortunately, advances in dairy processi ...

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