What is NEC?
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an inflammatory disease and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide for preterm babies.2 Experts believe that an underdeveloped or damaged intestine is the main cause of NEC, instigated by complications including lack of blood or oxygen to the intestine, injury to the intestinal lining or bacterial growth on the intestinal wall.3
NEC affects 5% of infants born two months early4
About 1-2% of all infants are born very preterm or extremely preterm – i.e. two months or earlier than due date – which is some 2.4 million babies globally every year.5 NEC affects approximately 5% of this group and results in a mortality rate of up to 30%.4, 6
Probiotic product may decrease risk of NEC
A three-strain probiotic blend by Chr. Hansen has shown to help support the intestinal tract for healthy immune and digestive function. This product contains a blend of three different probiotic strains: BB-12® Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, TH-4® Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis. The blend has been shown to help reduce the risk of NEC by up to 50%, as documented in two clinical trials including a total of more than 1,200 preterm infants born two months or earlier than due date.1, 7
Strict production requirements ensure highest quality
Due to the high vulnerability of preterm infants to infections, Chr. Hansen has implemented the strictest of production processes. Chr. Hansen’s extra requirements include extended contaminant testing and stricter requirements regarding both environmental monitoring and cleaning before production to eliminate the risk of contamination.
The product is packed in single use, sealed packages to help reduce the risk of contamination compared to multi-use containers.
Strong external validation
A position paper published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition on February 11, 2020 by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition8 recommends the probiotic strains included in the blend by Chr. Hansen. The working group states that “if all safety conditions are met, the panel conditionally recommends using the combination of Bifidobacterium infantis, Bb-02 (DSM 33361), Bifidobacterium, BB-12® and Streptococcus thermophilus, TH-4® at a dose of 3.0 to 3.5 x 10^8 CFU (of each strain) as it might reduce NEC stage 2 or 3”.
1 Jacobs et al. Pediatrics 2013,132(6):1055-1062;
2 Cotton et al. J Perinatol 2005,25:650–655
3 Alganabi et al. F1000Research 2019,8:1-8
4 Neu & Walker. N Engl J Med 2011,364(3):255-264
5 Chawanpaiboon et al. The Lancet 2019,7:37-46
6 Fitzgibbons et al. J Pediatr Surg 2009,44(6):1072-1075
7 Bin-Nun et al. J Pediatr 2005;147:192-196
8 van den Akker et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2020