HMO OVERVIEW

THE BASICS

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 CHARACTERISTICS

  • 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

HMO BENEFITS

  • 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

REFERENCES

 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


EXPLAINING HMO

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

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT HMO? 

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