Early Life Nutrition

Gut Health Campaign - ELN


Our belief

The gut plays an important role in the health and well-being of infants. Early life gut development and maturation is needed to ensure a first line of defence against threats from the external environment¹, microbiota development², proper digestion and absorption of nutrients³, and development of the immune system.

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Gut health feeds into many different aspects of health in early life and finds its basis in the colonisation of the gut with beneficial micro-organisms, i.e. the establishment of the infant’s gut microbiota2. A ‘microbiota’ is defined as a collection of micro-organisms residing within a specific part of the body, for instance the gut. Together, all micro-organisms and their activities in various parts of the human body are termed the ‘microbiome’. The development of the gut microbiota in early life has been associated with long-term health effects, highlighting the importance of offering nutritional solutions that can support gut health in infants.


In breast-fed infants, human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) steer the development of the gut microbiota. HMOs are non-digestible carbohydrates that are fermented by specific bacteria in the infant gut, thereby providing optimal conditions for the growth of beneficial bacteria that support gut health6. So far, over 200 HMO varieties have been identified in human milk6, including 2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL), 3’-Sialyllactose (3’-SL) and Lacto-N-Tetraose (LNT), each of which is expected to have its own potential benefits for infant gut health⁷⁻¹². Alongside HMOs, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), a complex mixture of over 100 oligosaccharides¹³ that is derived from an enzymatic conversion of lactose from cow’s milk, consists of similar building blocks as HMOs and is recognised for its positive impact on the gut microbiota¹⁴.


At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we believe that delivering a larger variety of non-digestible oligosaccharides, e.g. 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. As a unique provider of both GOS and HMO solutions, we can offer a wider diversity of structures to bring the concept of gut health to the next level.

‘One gut, a lifetime of opportunity’

For more information: [download material Gut health white paper (short version, 2-pager)]


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