Clinical Benefits of Milk Fat Globule Membranes for Infants and Children

J Pediatr. 2016 Jun:173 Suppl:S60-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.077.


The milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) in breast milk contains many bioactive components. Infant formulas traditionally have been devoid of the MFGM fraction, but dairy technology now has made the addition of bovine MFGM technically feasible. We identified 6 double-blinded randomized controlled trials exploring the effects of MFGM supplementation on the diets of infants or children. Results suggest that supplementation is safe and indicate positive effects on both neurodevelopment and defense against infections. MFGM supplementation of infant formula may narrow the gap in cognitive performance and infection rates between breastfed and formula-fed infants. Because of the small number of studies and the heterogeneity of interventions, more high-quality double-blinded randomized controlled trials are needed, with well characterized and clearly defined MFGM fractions, before firm conclusions on the effects of MFGM supplementation on the health and development of infants can be drawn.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / immunology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Glycolipids / immunology
  • Glycolipids / pharmacology*
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / immunology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Droplets
  • Milk, Human / physiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Glycolipids
  • Glycoproteins
  • milk fat globule