December 25, 2022 7 min read
The gut microbiome impacts more than just our digestion — a healthy microbiome helps improve sleep, mood, cognition, blood sugar, metabolism, heart health, immunity, body weight, energy, and much more. But our gut doesn’t just need probiotics — it also requires prebiotics, the food for the probiotic bacteria to survive and thrive.
The SuperHMO® Prebiotic Mix is an unprecedented way to provide your gut bacteria with the prebiotics it needs to thrive. Comprised of five major types of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), this potent prebiotic powder is designed to promote the growth of over 100 strains of probiotics — and your gut will never be happier.
HMOs are a type of carbohydrate known as prebiotics, which are non-digestible chains of carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that travel to the large intestine to be consumed by healthy gut bacteria.
HMOs are naturally present in breast milk. They can also be created through a scientific process involving enzymes and fermentation.
Let’s take a closer look at the five HMOs in this powder:
Two families of HMOs include the fucosylated HMOs — 2′-Fucosyllactose (2’FL) — and sialylated HMOs, known as 3′-Sialyllactose (3′SL) and 6′-Sialyllactose (6’SL).
The difference between these two types comes down to changes in their chemical structures. While fucosylation involves adding fucose sugar units to a molecule, sialylation adds sialic acid to the end of a carbohydrate chain.
2’-FL is the most abundant HMO found in human breast milk and was the first HMO to be added to infant formula. We now know that 2’FL is strongly linked to immune health, brain development, and fighting inflammation.
The sialylated HMOs — 3’SL and 6’SL — also are known to benefit brain health, as sialic acid is an essential nutrient to form compounds critical to cognitive function.
Lacto-N-tetraose (LNT) is a nitrogen-containing HMO that is one of the most crucial prebiotics found in human milk. The benefits of LNT include promoting the growth of beneficial probiotics like Bifidobacteria, which is a genus linked to better digestive and colon health.
Metabolites from Bifidobacteria have also been shown to reduce inflammation from compounds like LPS (lipopolysaccharide), a bacterial toxin that causes leaky gut. Further, LNT exhibits immune-supporting benefits and may inhibit the adhesion of harmful bacteria in the gut.
With a slightly different structure and name, lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) is another HMO prebiotic prevalent in human milk. LNnt is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity in the gut. It’s also been studied for its role in modulating the immune system and promoting the healthy maturation of intestinal cells.
Together, these five HMOs create a potent blend of prebiotics that can benefit gut, immune, and cognitive health. One of the ways that HMOs benefit health is due to the healthy metabolites that they help stimulate — this according to the stool study performed on the 5-HMO mix.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the prominent metabolites that can be produced after the gut microbiota consumes HMOs.
HMOs lead to higher short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production, which benefits gut health. Greater SCFA production is associated with a lower prevalence of leaky gut because the SCFA butyrate can strengthen the tight junctions between epithelial cells.
Butyrate promotes the health of intestinal cells by providing them with energy, which strengthens the integrity of the gut lining. Butyrate is also thought to induce mucin production — a key component of mucus that acts as a chemical barrier against pathogens or harmful bacteria.
HMOs also promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria — especially Bifidobacteria.This genus of bacteria encompasses over 80 species, including some of the most beneficial members found in the gut microbiome. People with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes tend to have lower levels of Bifidobacteria.
Although Bifidobacteria are the most abundant bacteria in the gut shortly after birth, levels of the bacteria decline with age, so it becomes essential to boost Bifidobacteria content through diet or supplements like HMOs.
One specific type of Bifidobacteria called Bifidobacterium longum infantis increases the production of tight junction proteins that prevent leaky gut and keep our intestinal barrier lining strong. However, B. infantis needs to feed on prebiotics for this to occur. Without this fuel, these beneficial bacteria can’t survive.
HMOs are also consumed by Bacteroides, which can lead to increased production of this genus. Although not all Bacteroides species are beneficial, some, like Bacteroides fragilis, can help the body produce immune cells that kill harmful bacteria.
The sialylated HMOs — 3’SL and 6’SL — provide sialic acid, which is needed to form compounds called gangliosides — a fat highly abundant in the brain that enriches cell membranes and communication between neurons. People who don’t have proper ganglioside function can show symptoms of severe neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting the cognitive importance of these sialic acid-carrying fats.
HMOs may also benefit cognitive function because they lead to the production of SCFAs. When we consume HMOs, the indigestible prebiotic portion of the HMO is metabolized by our gut bacteria. The primary SCFAs — butyrate, propionate, and acetate — are beneficial compounds that promote not only cognitive function but also digestive and immune health.
In addition to cognitive health, HMOs are thought to benefit mood disorders like depression and anxiety. As lower SCFA and probiotic levels are linked to these mood disorders, HMO consumption may help to combat anxiety and depression.
It’s recommended to start off with a lower dose of SuperHMO® Prebiotic Mix while your digestive system acclimates to the additional prebiotics.
During the first 5-7 days of using this product, start off with a ½ scoop to 1 scoop of the powder mixed with water. After one week, increase to the full two-scoop dosage per day — but do not consume more than three scoops per day.
If you are not used to consuming fiber-rich foods or have poor gut health, it’s possible that HMO prebiotics may make you feel uncomfortable before things get better. If this sounds like you, then start with the smallest dose and gradually increase it as you feel better.
You can add this powder to both hot or cold water, as well as beverages like tea, coffee, or juice. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not killed by hot temperatures. But, remember to store the prebiotic powder in a dry place to avoid moisture being absorbed.
The SuperHMO® Prebiotic Mix pairs well with our PureHMO® Synbiotic (Pre+Pro) because our synbiotic contains 10 strains of beneficial bacteria, which could be used to seed your gut microbiome.
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