Enhancing the Benefits of HMOs: Synergistic effects with Probiotics
Among the many important roles of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) is their beneficial effect on gut microbiome development in early life. As such, HMOs promote the dominance of specific HMO-degrading Bifidobacterium species in the infant gut. These HMO-utilising bifidobacteria are increasingly recognised as important for health, mainly due to their HMO metabolites, including short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and their interaction with gut microbiota structure and immune development; however, not all can utilise HMOs equally. Of these, B. infantis dominates in the gut of breastfed infants, probably due to the presence of HMOs in breast milk. Recent research points to a unique relationship between HMOs and B. infantis LMG11588, suggesting a synergistic effect on SCFA production where the whole appears to be greater than the sum of its parts, at least in an ex-vivo infant model.