While human milk remains the best option for nourishing infants, not all parents are able to feed their babies breast milk. Scientific evidence suggests that human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), the third-most-abundant solid component of breast milk, promote infant health by supporting digestive, immune, and cognitive development through changes to the microbiome. Research also indicates that commercially produced HMOs, such as CARE4U™, can mimic some of the health-promoting effects of the HMOs present in human milk, helping to close an important gap between human milk and infant formula. HMOs are highly bifidogenic prebiotics that help create a Bifidobacteria-rich microbiome. The synergistic effect between HMOs and Bifidobacteria strains that can utilize HMOs as a carbon source, as well as HMOs’ complementary health effect with other probiotics, is an important development in maternal and early life nutrition.
In their presentation, Steen and Ratna reveal key findings from studies that investigate the impact and benefits of HMOs, with a focus on 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL), the most abundant HMO found in human milk; they will also discuss the commercial potential for and impact of this important innovation in infant nutrition.