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:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2007.03.011 ; 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:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0095-5108(18)30238-0 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:
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 Immuno. 2014;5;5:427.
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. J 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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.06.021 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. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020423
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. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8724 159Whisner, C. M., & Castillo, L. F. (2018). Prebiotics, Bone and Mineral Metabolism. In Calcified Tissue International. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00223-017-0339-3