Human Nutrition

Pregnancy & Early Life Health

Support for the most susceptible months in life. During the first 1000 days of baby’s life, we deliver the right nutrients for both the healthy development of the child and the wellbeing of the pregnant mother.

Get the best start in life: the healthy development of both physical and mental functions is closely linked to maternal nutrition during pregnancy – and to the nutrients that are available during the first 1000 days of baby’s life.

Certain micronutrient deficiencies during this highly sensitive time can lead to serious health conditions and reduced mental performance in later life. Some studies even suggest that nutrition during the first 36 months can affect our educational potential and our vocational opportunities in later life. By giving newborns everything they need from day one, we have a unique opportunity to make a positive and life-long contribution to their future life.

This is why we offer premium ingredients for healthy growth and development. We focus on improving health by providing the right nutrients to the right people at the right time. Our health ingredients, including Human Milk Oligosaccharides, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, are based on documented scientific foundations and contribute to health and wellbeing, both early and later in life.


  • We are a science company: with our deep understanding of the needs for healthy development during the early stages of life, we develop appropriate product concepts.
  • We are a key industry partner in the early life nutrition market, offering a broad portfolio of premium health ingredients.
  • We ensure, with more than 150 years of experience in the dietary supplement, food and beverage and medical nutrition industries, tailored and successful products.
  • We respect highest regulatory and quality requirements which are in place for the sensitive target group of infants and young children.
  • We are always close to our customers. We are offering global and regional know-how, comprehensive formulation and technical services with our Human Nutrition labs and expert teams.

Early Life Nutrition: The First 1000 Days Count Double

When is the right time to think about proper nutrition for your baby? 

The first 1000 days are highly important for your child’s health and for its development, both now and later in life. To gain maximum benefit from early health support, it’s best to start early – ideally before pregnancy – with targeted nutritional support.


Optimal nutrition during pregnancy doesn’t mean eating for two: it’s not about the amount of food, it’s about delivering the right nutrients to mother and child. It is common knowledge that folate, iron and vitamin D require special attention. But, in fact, consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids, especially in the form of DHA, is equally as important.


Breast milk is the ideal nourishment for young babies. This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breast feeding for at least the first six months, and for as long as possible. Breast milk specifically meets infants’ needs by providing the right nutrients at each particular stage of development. However, getting enough vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may mean that breastfeeding mothers could need to resort to supplementation to ensure that baby receives adequate amounts.

Infant Formula

When a mother cannot breastfeed her baby, or decides not to do so, infant formulas are available as brest milk sustitutes.
Starter formulas are designed to meet the requirements during the first months of life, while the composition of follow-on formulas reflects the needs of the older infant.

Based on increasing knowledge about the composition of human milk, many initiatives are ongoing to narrow the gap between human milk and infant formula, which are usually based bovine milk.

Apart from protein, carbohydrates and fat which deliver energy and provide the building blocks for healthy development, micronutrients and polyunsaturared fatty cdis such as DHA are also vitally important.

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) have been identified as major differentiating factor between human and bovine milk. Beyond their prebiotic effect, it has been shown that HMOs are relevant for the healthy development of the immune system, allergy prevention and cognition.

Growing-Up Milk

Growing-up milks are designed to meet the specific needs of toddlers between the ages of one and three and pre-school children. After their first birthday, children will usually eat a wider variety of normal food. However, meeting their nutritional needs, particularly those of “picky eaters,” can be challenging, and growing-up milks can help to close this gap. 

These Nutrients Are Essential for Early Life Nutrition

  • Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs): HMOs are a mixture of complex carbohydrates, with 2‘-Fucosyllactose (2‘-FL) being the most abundant with about 2.7 g/ l human milk. 2‘-FL is the most extensively researched HMO with documented health benefits: Establishing a protective gut microbiota by stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria, reducing the risk of infections due to anti-microbial and anti-viral activities and supporting brain- and immune system development.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an integral component of cell membranes and plays an important role in normal cell function. During the last three months of pregnancy and the first two years of life, brain development goes through a substantial growth spurt. By the age of five, baby’s brain mass has more than tripled, compared with birth, and about 90% of the brain architecture is in place. During the first few years of life, omega-3s play a significant role in the structural and functional development of the brain.
  • Lutein: For the development and maintenance of eye health and good vision, lutein is essential. As a macular pigment, it is highly concentrated in the central region of the retina and may enhance visual performance both early and later in life. The high concentrations of lutein in the regions of the infant brain responsible for memory, executive function, hearing and vision suggest a key role in cognitive development.
  • Vitamin D: In early life nutrition, vitamin D is required to ensure normal growth and development. It has a fundamental role in bone development, the prevention of rickets and is also required for the development of a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin A: An integral component of the eye and critical for visual development, vitamin A also supports the immune system and contributes to skin integrity – both of which are important to protect babies from infections.
  • Vitamin E: This strong antioxidant protects cell membranes and, as such, is important for overall health and many of the body’s key functions. Vitamin E, particularly during the early stages of life, is involved in the development of muscles and the nervous system.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K is important to ensure normal blood coagulation. In conjunction with vitamin D, it supports normal bone metabolism and thus is essential for healthy growth and the development of the skeletal system.
  • B-vitamins: B-vitamins are key co-factors in energy metabolism and play an important role in cell division. They support the healthy development of the brain and nervous system.

Easy Access to the Early Nutrition Market

Based on our more than 150-year heritage of innovation and expertise in human nutrition, we offer high quality ingredients and comprehensive services. Providing speed to market, our experts support our customers from consultation to implementation.

In our Human Nutrition labs around the world, we offer specialist knowledge with a deep understanding of local needs and preferences. We help our partners with formulation and reformulation issues, as well as technical support and tailor-made training services.

Disclaimer: Specific regulations in the respective countries on the ingredients used, for the intended use and claims made on the final product have to be observed.

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