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What Are Partially Hydrolyzed Proteins And Why Are They Important?


A mother is always concerned about what to feed her baby. Nutrition during the early months plays an important role in healthy growth.

Proteins are crucial for healthy growth, but they are also difficult to digest as they are complex compounds. A baby’s tummy is immature and may not be able to digest protein efficiently. Therefore, it is important to feed your baby the appropriate quantity and quality of protein, and the best way to do so is breast milk.

Why Breast Milk?

Proteins are difficult to digest, especially for a baby’s immature digestive system. The protein in breast milk is partially hydrolyzed, which means that is in the form of simpler chains of amino acids, making it less taxing on your baby’s digestive system and kidneys.

Partially Hydrolyzed Proteins (PHPs)

Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that help to digest proteins. But in the developing digestive system of a newborn, there is a lower concentration of these enzymes. This is why it is important to give your baby the appropriate quality of protein, in the right quantity.

Breast milk on the other hand, is meant to meet your baby’s specific nutritional requirements. The proteins in breast milk are gentle on the baby’s tummy, because they are partially pre-broken down into smaller chains of amino acids. This is why they are called partially hydrolyzed.

Why Are PHPs Important?

Here are a few pointers as to why partially hydrolyzed proteins are perfect for babies:

i) Infants have a higher tendency to get digestion problems such as colic, heartburn and acidity. Since partially hydrolyzed proteins are easy to digest, it is better if babies consume breast milk during their infancy.

ii) Studies have shown that partially hydrolysed milk proteins promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. This helps improve your baby’s gut health as it prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria.

iii) The PHP in breast milk is easily absorbed and digested, helping them feel satisfied. Hence, babies who are breastfed are less likely to become obese.

iv) Breastfed babies have a lower tendency to develop allergies. This is because the PHP molecules are much smaller and will not be treated as a threat by their immune system. They will be absorbed easily and will in fact protect the baby from infections and diseases.

As a result, it is important to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months of their life, so that they can reap the benefits of this nutrition. It is, after all, the best choice you can make to lay a healthy foundation for your baby’s health.

Disclaimer- All the information provided is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.

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