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Considerations in developing lipid-based nutrient supplements for prevention of undernutrition: experience from the International Lipid-Based nutrient supplements (iLiNS) Project.
Maternal and Child Nutrition. 2015 Dec; 11(Suppl 4):31-61.The International Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements (iLiNS) Project began in 2009 with the goal of contributing to the evidence base regarding the potential of lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) to prevent undernutrition in vulnerable populations. The first project objective was the development of acceptable LNS products for infants 6-24 months and for pregnant and lactating women, for use in studies in three countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana and Malawi). This paper shares the rationale for a series of decisions in supplement formulation and design, including those related to ration size, ingredients, nutrient content, safety and quality, and packaging. Most iLiNS supplements have a daily ration size of 20 g and are intended for home fortification of local diets. For infants, this ration size is designed to avoid displacement of breast milk and to allow for dietary diversity including any locally available and accessible nutrient-dense foods. Selection of ingredients depends on acceptability of flavour, micronutrient, anti-nutrient and essential fatty acid contents. The nutrient content of LNS designed to prevent undernutrition reflects the likelihood that in many resource-poor settings, diets of the most nutritionally vulnerable individuals (infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women) are likely to be deficient in multiple micronutrients and, possibly, in essential fatty acids. During ingredient procurement and LNS production, safety and quality control procedures are required to prevent contamination with toxins or pathogens and to ensure that the product remains stable and palatable over time. Packaging design decisions must include consideration of product protection, stability, convenience and portion control.