New Research On HMOs: Enhancing Their Benefit

7 min read /
Gut Microbiota Growth & Development

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have multiple and important roles in the development of infants and young children, including supporting gut, immune and brain health. In breastfed, vaginally born infants, HMO-degrading bifidobacteria dominate the early phase of gut microbiome development, which appears to be critical for infant immune maturation and gut barrier function. Breast milk is therefore a complex matrix tailored to the needs of the infant, containing HMOs, and working in synergy with the infant's gut bifidobacteria to further unlock the benefits associated with HMOs. Initial promising results from an ex vivo model suggest that the combination of an age-appropriate mixture of HMOs and the infant-type Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (LMG11588) has a synergistic effect on the production of short-chain fatty acids, where the whole appears to be greater than the sum of its parts, at least in infants.