Science sn2 palmitate

The main source of energy for infants in the first year of its life is fats. The importance of the properties and source of these fats goes without saying. Vitalon® uses the recently discovered and developed SN2-palmitate (OPO).

This means that the fats have been adjusted on a molecular level to be similar to fats in breast milk. This is achieved by binding the correct fatty acids to the correct position on the base molecule, glycerol. Recent scientific research shows the importance of the position of these fatty acids and the implications for digestion, absorption of nutrients and more. The fats in vegetable oils have a different fatty acid position as opposed to the fats in breast milk. Most infant nutrition formulae contain regular vegetable oil fats. Vitalon® uses fats that have been adjusted enzymatically to not be like the vegetable fats but like the fats in breast milk and has all the advantages that come with it. Guaranteed >43% of all palmitic acid is attached to the SN2 position. Some advantages that research shows:


Enhanced beneficial gut flora

Reduced stool

Controlled intestinal health

Increased fat & calcium absorption

Reduced infant crying

Increased bone strength

How does Science SN2 Palmitate work?

The structure of the triglycerides in a baby’s diet has significant consequences for his or her ability to absorb key nutrients. How the triglycerides are broken down. The fatty acids bonded to the SN-1 and SN-3 positions of the fork-shaped triglycerides. This leaves the fork and its last remaining fatty acid – the one attached to its SN-2 position – bound tightly together in one piece, which is then absorbed through the lining of the small intestine. With most triglycerides found in human breast milk – and in Vitalon® – this last fatty acid is palmitic monoglyceride. Many infant formulas use blends of different vegetable oils as substitutes for the fats found in mother’s milk. And while these blends have similar compositions of fatty acids to those found in human milk, the fatty acids are attached to the triglycerides differently. As a result, significantly more triglycerides in infant formula have palmitic acid bound to either the SN-1 or SN-3 positions. So when gut enzymes separate the fatty acids bound to these positions, they send free palmitic acid into the gut, where it bonds with dietary calcium to form insoluble “soaps”.

Arachidonic acid (AA) is an essential fatty acid that naturally occurs in breast milk. A(R)A contributes to the normal development of the immune system and the brain. For these reasons Vitalon® has chosen to add carefully considered amounts of these A(R)A fatty acids to its formula in the same way as DHA. They are added in special form to preserve its beneficial properties. Researcher at the University of Kansas have claimed a correlation between cognitive development (intelligence) and A(R)A intake in infants.

OPO explained

A baby doubles in size in 17 weeks after birth. This impressive achievement is only possible with the correct fat intake. Fat contributes to almost half of a baby’s energy intake. The structure of mother’s milk fat is vital to the health and nutrition of babies. The fat molecules in mother’s milk have a fork shape with three prongs. In human milk fat, palmitic acid is usually bound to the molecule’s second prong. The first and third prongs are occupied by oleic acid. This unique “O-P-O” structure allows babies to absorb more palmitic acid and calcium, contributing to important benefits:



Improved energy intake

Reduced constipation

Increased bone mineral density

Healthy gut bacteria

Reduction of crying

Better night sleep


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