WHAT IS HMO?
The acronym HMO stands for Human Milk Oligosaccharide.
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are present in great quantities in human breast milk: the 3rd largest element after lipids and lactose. While numerous studies have determined that breast milk is a great benefit to babies, just what these HMOs—a group of carbohydrates or complex sugars—accomplish remained a mystery for quite a while.
But numerous studies over the past several decades determined that while they do nothing for a baby’s nutrition, they do play an incredibly important and irreplaceable role in infant health.
As non-digestible carbohydrates, HMOs make their way to the colon and act as a sort of dual prebiotic, where they feed the good bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, and help the body to ward off a variety of infections and inflammations.
And, it turns out, what is good for babies, is also good for adults.
What is the difference between a prebiotic and probiotic?
Probiotic: the good bacteria that live in our bodies and are also found in some foods, such as yogurt
Prebiotic: indigestible food that feed the probiotics in the gut
HMO IN BREAST MILK
- HMOs are a component of human breast milk
- HMOs are the third largest solid component of human breast milk behind Lactose (1) and Lipids (2)
- There are estimated to be between 130 and 200 or more different types of Human Milk Oligosaccharides in existence
- The most abundant HMO is 2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL)
- HMO is a non-digestible, non-nutritive, prebiotic
- HMO is a complex sugar (carbohydrate)
- HMOs display anti-adhesive and immune system modulating properties in infants
- HMOs are made of five basic monosaccharides: glucose (Glc), galactose (Gal), N-ethylglucosamine (GlcNAc),
fucose (Fuc) and sialic acid (SA)
- HMOs are resistant to stomach acidity, hydrolysis by human enzymes and gastrointestinal absorption
- The vast majority of HMOs reach the distal small intestine and colon intact and in high concentrations
- HMOs promote the maturation of the immune system and create a more balanced Th1/Th2 cytokine response. They may stimulate the immune response and maturation of epithelial cells to protect the host against virus infection
- HMOs may resemble the structure of viral receptors on cell surface and block adherence of certain viruses to human cells, such as rotaviruses, noroviruses, influenza viruses, and human immunodeficiency viruses
- There are some reports indicating that HMO may reduce HIV-1 mother-to-child transmission in breastfed infants
- Safety: 2′FL and LNnT supplementation in daily doses up to 20 g are safe and well tolerated in healthy adults
- HMO diet supplementation may be a valuable opportunity to shape the human intestinal microflora, and especially to promote the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria
Wiciński, M., Sawicka, E., Gębalski, J., Kubiak, K., & Malinowski, B. (2020). Human Milk Oligosaccharides: Health Benefits, Potential Applications in Infant Formulas, and Pharmacology. Nutrients, 12(1), 266. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010266
Kaskey, J. (2019, April 12.) A Breast Milk Ingredient Is the Hot New Health Supplement for Adults. Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-12/breast-milk-is-the-hot-new-health-supplement-for-adults
YOUR GUIDE TO HUMAN MILK OLIGOSACCHARIDE
- 1. WHAT IS HMO?
- 2. HISTORY OF HMO?
- 3. HOW IS HMO MADE?
- 4. IMPACT ON GUT HEALTH
- 5. IMPACT ON IMMUNE SYSTEM
- 6. HMO vs. OTHER PREBIOTICS
- 7. PureHMO™ LINE
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