Infant Milk Formula with Large, Milk Phospholipid-coated Lipid Droplets Enriched in Dairy Lipids Affects Body Mass Index Trajectories and Blood Pressure at School Age: Follow-up of a Randomized Controlled Trial

for the Mercurius Study Group, Marieke Abrahamse-Berkeveld*, Sabine NJ Jespers, Poh Choo Khoo, Vincent Rigo, Stefaan MK Peeters, Ronald HT van Beek, Obbe F. Norbruis, Stefanie Schoen, Maya Marintcheva-Petrova, Eline M. van der Beek, Gerlinde MSJ Stoelhorst, Yvan Vandenplas, Anita CS Hokken-Koelega

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Human milk comprises large fat globules enveloped by a native phospholipid membrane, whereas infant formulas contain small, protein-coated lipid droplets. Previous experimental studies indicated that mimicking the architecture of human milk lipid droplets in infant milk formula (IMF) alters lipid metabolism with lasting beneficial impact on later metabolic health. 

Objectives: To evaluate in a follow-up (FU) study of a randomized, controlled trial whether a Concept IMF with large, milk phospholipid-coated lipid droplets enriched with dairy lipids beneficially impacts long-term body mass index (BMI in kg/m2) trajectories and blood pressure at school age. 

Methods: Fully formula-fed infants were randomly assigned to Concept IMF (n = 115) or Control IMF with conventional, small lipid droplets containing vegetable oils (n = 108) for the first 4 mo of age. A group of 88 breastfed infants served as a reference. During FU, anthropometrics were collected at 1, 3, 4, and 5 y of age, and blood pressure only at the last visit. 

Results: Compared to Control, Concept group children had consistently lower mean BMI values during FU, with the most marked difference at 1 y of age (difference in means –0.71 kg/m2, 95% confidence interval (CI): –1.13, –0.29; P = 0.001); mean values were close to the breastfed group (P > 0.05). Contrary, the mean BMI values of the Control group were higher compared with the breastfed group during FU from 1 to 5 y of age (differences in means from 0.59 to 0.96 kg/m2, respectively; P < 0.02). At 5 y of age, the Concept group had a lower mean diastolic and arterial blood pressure compared with the Control group; –4.3mm Hg (95% CI: –7.3, –1.3; P = 0.005) and –3.7 mm Hg (95% CI: –6.5, –0.9; P = 0.01), respectively. 

Conclusions: Early life feeding of an innovative IMF with large, milk phospholipid-coated lipid droplets enriched with dairy lipids results in a BMI trajectory closer to breastfed infants and a lower blood pressure at school age. This trial was registered at the Dutch Trial Register as NTR3683 and NTR5538.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-99
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2024


  • childhood
  • dietary lipid quality
  • growth trajectories
  • infant nutrition
  • metabolic health
  • milk fat globule membrane (MFGM)
  • nutritional programming

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