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Baby Formula Guide

Baby Formula Ingredients and Their Benefits

Breastfeeding is the best, but there are mothers who aren’t able to provide their babies this food, essential for their healthy development. In case breastfeeding is not possible, infants should receive baby formula, either as the only source of nutrition or as a supplement. Baby formula is similar to breast milk, containing all ingredients needed for the growth of the infant. This article takes a look at the main ingredients in baby formula and their benefits for the infants.

DHA and ARA (Fatty Acids)

2014_09_02_9999_17Both DHA and ARA are found in the breast milk. They play an important role in the mental development of the baby, as well as on their vision. There are studies that show babies who got DHA and ARA from their nutrition as infants scored better on mental development tests further on in life.


All baby formulas available on the market need to contain all vitamins that are recommended for the healthy growth of the babies, as listed by the FDA. Most formulas contain also iron, but it is possible to buy low-iron formulas, if needed.

Among the vitamins that need to be present in all baby formula products there are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and B12. They have various roles in the body, from antioxidant functions to the improvement of cellular processes.

Folic Acid and Panthotetic Acid are also part of any baby formula on the market. As folic acid cannot be synthesized by the human body, it need to be provided in the foods. It is essential for the synthesis of DNA and for the cell division and growth. Panthotetic acid is useful for the synthesis and metabolism of coenzyme-A, proteins, carbs and fats.


Calcium is very good for strengthening the bones, therefore it  needs to be included in the nutrition of infants and children in general.


Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3. It is essential in the body. Insufficient niacin may lead to anemia, mouth lesions, nausea or even pellagra, a disease that used to kill many people throughout the history, back in the times when research was not widely available.


Iodine is highly water soluble and it is required for synthesizing thyroid hormones. The iodine deficit may cause intellectual disability, depression, low basal body temperatures and extreme fatigue.

Baby handPhosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral with is essential for life. It can be found in the cell membranes of humans, in the DNA, RNA, ATP and in the bones. In case of deficiency, subjects will experience symptoms such as muscle or neural dysfunctions or disruptions of the blood cells.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium Chloride is what we know as table salt. In big quantities, it can be harmful, but in small quantities is is useful for the nitric oxide attenuation.


Carbohydrates supply the body with the needed amount of energy. Growing infants need a lot of energy, about 40% of it coming from carbohydrates. Most formulas contain lactose as a source of carbohydrates. Nonetheless, some infants may have a lactose intolerance. For them, there are lactose-free formulas available, getting their carbohydrates from sucrose, glucose or starches.


Nucleotides are naturally found in breast milk. They are very important for the metabolic processes and for the natural body functions. Unfortunately, cow’s milk doesn’t contain enough nucleotides to satisfy the needs of an infant’s body, therefore it is not advisable to feed infants with cow’s milk instead of breast milk. This is why infant formula is a much better choice: it is rich in nucleotides, in order to make sure the babies get the right amount for their normal development.

There are various types of baby formulas, with different ingredients. The right formula to be chosen for a baby should be indicated by the doctor. This is why it is best to ask for medical advice before choosing an infant formula for your baby. Nonetheless, the main ingredients described above should figure on the labels of all such products on the market, as imposed by the FDA. In case your baby experiences digestive troubles following the intake of a certain formula, discontinue use immediately and address the emergency services.

Baby Formula Guide November 3, 2014
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