Health Benefits

The importance of good gut health

Good gut health in infancy leads to a lifetime of health benefits. Discover how the magic of the gut microbiome can support immunity, digestive comfort, brain development and healthy growth of infants.

Meet galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs*), ingredients with starring roles to play when it comes to infant gut health. FrieslandCampina Ingredients is the only early childhood ingredient supplier in the world that offers both GOS and HMO solutions. Combined, these ingredients can offer a diverse array of oligosaccharide structures to bring the concept of gut health to the next level.

What we believe

The gut plays an essential role in infant health and well-being. The gut needs to develop and mature sufficiently in early life to ensure a first line of defence against threats from the external environment79Kelly D, King T, Aminov R. Importance of microbial colonization of the gut in early life to the development of immunity. Mutat Res Mol Mech Mutagen. 2007;622(1):58-69. doi:  ; to support microbiota development, 173Zhuang L, Chen H, Zhang S, Zhuang J, Li Q, Feng Z. Intestinal Microbiota in Early Life and Its Implications on Childhood Health. Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2019;17(1):13-25. doi:10.1016/j.gpb.2018.10.002 proper digestion and absorption of nutrients; 55Hamosh M. Digestion in the Newborn. Clin Perinatol. 1996;23(2):191-209. doi: and to ensure adequate development of the immune system. 97Martin R, Nauta AJ, Ben Amor K, Knippels LMJ, Knol J, Garssen J. Early life: Gut microbiota and immune development in infancy. Benef Microbes. Published online 2010. doi:10.3920/BM2010.0027Good gut health relies on gut colonisation by beneficial micro-organisms during the establishment of the infant gut microbiota.

At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we believe that delivering a larger variety of non-digestible oligosaccharides—a combination of GOS and HMOs—can be of key importance for the establishment of the gut microbiota and its metabolism, thereby feeding into many different health aspects in early life and beyond.

So how does good gut health in infants offer benefits throughout life? In four key areas:

Immune health

Limiting the ability of pathogens to colonise the gut, supporting the healthy development and function of the immune system 179Arrieta, M.C., Stiemsma, L.T., Amenyogbe, N. & Brown, E.M. The intestinal microbiome in early life: health and disease. Front Immuno2014;5;5:427.

Digestive comfort

Stimulating the growth of Bifidobacteria, so promoting the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and improving stool consistency and regularity of bowel movements 133Sierra C, Bernal MJ, Blasco J, et al. Prebiotic effect during the first year of life in healthy infants fed formula containing GOS as the only prebiotic: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. Published online 2015. doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0689-9 164Williams T, Choe Y, Price P, et al. Tolerance of formulas containing prebiotics in healthy, term infants. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. Published online 2014. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000000513

Brain development and emotional wellbeing

Influencing (directly or indirectly) neuro-cognitive development and brain function, through specific gut-brain pathways 180Carlson, A. L., Xia, K., Azcarate-Peril, M. A., Goldman, B. D., Ahn, M., Styner, M. A., Thompson, A. L., Geng, X., Gilmore, J. H., & Knickmeyer, R. C. (2018). Infant Gut Microbiome Associated With Cognitive Development. Biological Psychiatry. 126Ratsika, A., Codagnone, M. C., O’Mahony, S., Stanton, C., & Cryan, J. F. (2021). Priming for life: Early life nutrition and the microbiota-gut-brain axis. In Nutrients.

Healthy growth

Supporting key mineral absorption for healthy growth 181Skrypnik, K., & Suliburska, J. (2018). Association between the gut microbiota and mineral metabolism. In Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 159Whisner, C. M., & Castillo, L. F. (2018). Prebiotics, Bone and Mineral Metabolism. In Calcified Tissue International

A parent’s gut feeling

New and exclusive consumer research by FrieslandCampina Ingredients and Innova Market Insights illuminates a clear trend in parental priorities: interest in gut health is on the rise.

Related Ingredients


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Vivinal® GOS Syrup

  • Supports microbiota development

  • Improves stool consistency

  • Enhances mineral absorption

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Vivinal® GOS Powder

  • Infant food dry-blend grade

  • High purity, low in glucose

  • Facilitates recipe differentiation

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Vivinal® GOS Syrup Organic

  • Supports microbiota development

  • Certified organic in key markets

  • Suitable for organic infant milk formula

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Vivinal® GOS Easy Drying Syrup

  • Better drying properties, less drying capacity

  • Low in glucose

  • Easier to apply in challenging drying conditions

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  • Most abundant HMO in human milk

  • Stimulates growth of Bifidobacteria 

  • May reduce infection risk

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  • Neutral non-fucosylated HMO

  • Stimulates growth of Bifidobacteria 

  • Reduced infectivity in vitro

Download data sheet Request a Sample

Aequival® 3'-SL

  • Acidic HMO containing sialic acid 

  • Sialic acid supports brain development

  • Antipathogenic effects in vitro

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Other Health Benefits

Want to learn more about infant gut health?

FrieslandCampina Ingredients is proud to be a global supplier and play a leadership role in the infant and young child milk formula industry, backed by over 75 years of experience in ingredients manufacturing and research in early life nutrition. Discover our ingredient solutions: one gut, a lifetime of opportunity.

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* Not from human milk