HiPP is a trusted manufacturer around the world and proudly holds the title of Germany’s number one organic baby formula brand. One of their most popular products, the German version of their HiPP Bio Combiotic formula has been manufactured for more than half a century. When HiPP asked 91 parents what they thought about their formula, 93% said they would recommend it!
Throughout HiPP’s long production history, they’ve remained committed to using the latest nutrition research to continuously improve their products. To enhance the absorption of nutrients for babies, in October of 2021, HiPP changed their formula swapping out folic acid for Metafolin®. The recipes for the German version of their Bio Combiotic, Hypoallergenic (HA) Bio Combiotic, Anti-Reflux Bio Combiotic, and Comfort Bio Combiotic formula now contain Metafolin®.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what Metafolin® is? It’s a premium natural form of folate and folate is a natural form of vitamin B9 that’s found in breast milk. It plays an important role in normal growth and development, especially during pregnancy and infancy.
Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate commonly used in baby formulas. Compared to folic acid, Metafolin ® has greater bioavailability. This means your baby will be able to metabolize it immediately. A study byTroesch B et al. found Metafolin® fortified formula to be a safe and effective method for ensuring sufficient folate levels in infants (2019).
So is the recipe for HiPP’s German Bio Combiotic formulas still the same? Yes! The only difference is that they’ve used Metafolin® in place of the old folic acid but it’s still a reliable source of vitamin B9.
As always, the new formulas with Metafolin® contain lactic acid cultures originally derived from breastmilk and probiotics/galactooligosaccharides (GOS) just like breastmilk. And now there’s the added plus of better vitamin B9 absorption for your little one!
Why Folate is Important From Pregnancy and Beyond?
Folate is an important nutrient found in plants, animals, and breastmilk. It wears many different hats when it comes to supporting the health of our bodies. During and after pregnancy, folate is a crucial part of growth and development.
We need it for our basic cell function from formation, to differentiation, and finally regeneration! It also plays a role in the synthesis of our DNA and RNA. And lastly, it’s indispensable to our cognitive development and blood formation.
What Makes Metafolin® Different from Folic Acid?
The key thing to know here is that folic acid is kind of like folate’s synthetic twin, except it’s less beneficial to our bodies because folic acid is produced industrially and before our bodies can absorb and use it, we have to convert it into folate.
The problem with this is that some babies can have trouble converting enough folic acid into its ready-for-use form. This can happen when the enzymes in your little one’s liver have restricted or limited activity.
Unlike formulas containing folic acid, with Metafolin® enriched formula, your little one is good to go. This form of folate is already bioactive so their livers don’t need to do any additional work to metabolize it. That’s because Metafolin® is a calcium compound of folate that is naturally found in our bodies; some components of Metafolin® can even be found in breastmilk!
The Advantages of Using a Formula with Metafolin®?
When a study compared babies receiving Metafolin® fortified formula to babies receiving formula with folic acid, the babies with folic acid formula had significantly higher levels of unmetabolized folic acid.
The researchers, Troesch B et al., concluded that“the use of Metafolin® instead of synthetic folic acid formula is a safe alternative to ensure adequate folate supply in non-breastfed infants” (2019).
Is your baby partly breastfed? Well, HiPP Bio Combiotic with Metafolin® is perfect for supplementary feeding too!
There are many reasons that parents have chosen to use a HiPP Bio Combiotic formula with Metafolin®. For starters, when 91 parents were asked by HiPP 88% of them found that it was well tolerated by their baby. What’s more, it was yummy!
A whopping 93% of parents said their baby found the formula tasted either good or very good, and from an age group known for being picky eaters, that's saying a lot!
When babies can’t be exclusively breastfed, parents often turn to a formula that is modelled after breastmilk. Well, HiPP Bio Combiotic comes one step closer to nature.
Like breast milk it has bioavailable folate, it’s also enriched with iron and vitamins to support the immune system, and it’s got important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support brain development and visual acuity.
How Safe is Metafolin®?
When it comes to babies, safety comes first. That’s why researchers conducted a controlled study to examine the safety of infant formula enriched with Metafolin®.
During the study, babies who received this bioactive version of folate showed healthy growth and development. Breastfed babies typically don’t have unmetabolized folic acid in their bodies because the folate in their breastmilk is readily available. However, for formula-fed babies, that is not always the case.
However, in the study similar levels of folate were found in breastfed infants and infants receiving Metafolin® fortified formula. That means that Metafolin® enriched formula can be an effective way to provide your baby with the same folate levels they would otherwise get from breastmilk.
Previously, folic acid was the only approved form of folate for use in infant and follow-on formulas in the European Union. But due to the safety and bioavailability of Metafolin®, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved it for use in formulas.
HiPP goes above and beyond legal requirements to bring you the safest possible products. They’ve stated that “Your baby's health and making safe baby products is our top priority. Independent test institutes - such as Öko-Test or Stiftung Warentest - regularly examine our baby food.”
They uniformly test for over 1000 harmful substances in their baby food using state-of-the-art technology. All in all, this tight network of checks means that each batch of formula has gone through up to 260 controls (including testing performed by independent institutes) before making its way into your hands.
At first glance, it can appear confusing to understand the seemingly subtle differences between folate, folic acid, and Metafolin®. But it’s quite simple once you break it down.
Folate is a form of vitamin B9 naturally found in breastmilk, folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, and Metafolin® is a premium natural form of folate. Metafolin® and folate are bioactive versions of vitamin B9 that can readily be metabolized in the body, whereas folic acid is synthetically produced and must be converted into folate before it can take effect in the body.
Some babies receiving formula with folic acid rather than Metafolin® have more unmetabolized folic acid in their bodies because their enzymes aren’t able to convert enough folic acid into its active form.
By HiPP changing their Bio Combiotic recipe to include Metafolin® instead of folic acid, babies have vitamin B9 available to them for use immediately. One study found that giving infants a Metafolin® fortified formula was a safe and effective way to ensure little ones had an adequate supply of folate.
It’s very important to have a bioavailable source of folate, like Metafolin® because it plays such a crucial role in healthy growth and development from pregnancy and beyond! That’s why Metafolin ® was approved for use in baby formula by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Safety is HiPP’s number one priority, that’s why they regularly test and contract independent institutions to examine their formula. That means peace of mind for you, and a safe healthy formula with lots of vitamin B9 for your little one!
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula, and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician prior to making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.