Nutritional adequacy of a novel human milk fortifier from donkey milk in feeding preterm infants: study protocol of a randomized controlled clinical trial.Nutr J. 2018 01 09; 17(1):6.NJ
Fortification of human milk is a standard practice for feeding very low birth weight infants. However, preterm infants often still experience suboptimal growth and feeding intolerance. New fortification strategies and different commercially available fortifiers have been developed. Commercially available fortifiers are constituted by a blend of ingredients from different sources, including plant oils and bovine milk proteins, thus presenting remarkable differences in the quality of macronutrients with respect to human milk. Based on the consideration that donkey milk has been suggested as a valid alternative for children allergic to cow's milk proteins, due to its biochemical similarity to human milk, we hypothesized that donkey milk could be a suitable ingredient for developing an innovative human milk fortifier. The aim of the study is to evaluate feeding tolerance, growth and clinical short and long-term outcomes in a population of preterm infants fed with a novel multi-component fortifier and a protein concentrate derived from donkey milk, in comparison to an analogous population fed with traditional fortifier and protein supplement containing bovine milk proteins.
The study has been designed as a randomized, controlled, single-blind clinical trial. Infants born <1500 g and <32 weeks of gestational age were randomized to receive for 21 days either a combination of control bovine milk-based multicomponent fortifier and protein supplement, or a combination of a novel multicomponent fortifier and protein supplement derived from donkey milk. The fortification protocol followed is the same for the two groups, and the two diets were designed to be isoproteic and isocaloric. Weight, length and head circumference are measured; feeding tolerance is assessed by a standardized protocol. The occurrence of sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis and adverse effects are monitored.
This is the first clinical study investigating the use of a human milk fortifier derived from donkey milk for the nutrition of preterm infants. If donkey milk derived products will be shown to improve the feeding tolerance or either of the clinical, metabolic, neurological or auxological outcomes of preterm infants, it would be an absolute innovation in the field of feeding practices for preterm infants.
ISRCTN - ISRCTN70022881 .