New data published in The Journal of Nutrition show that Bimuno®, a unique galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), is functionally similar to human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS) by producing comparable anti-inflammatory intestinal protection. It is the first time a synthetic GOS has shown this effect, highlighting an important milestone for infant formula development.
"The benefits of human milk in promoting healthy gut bacteria - providing protection from infection, reducing inflammation and supporting healthy gut development - are well documented. Scientists have long been trying to understand and replicate this functionality," said Dr David Newburg, Director, Program in Glycobiology at Boston College and lead investigator of the study. "The outcomes of this study suggest that HMOS are responsible for the critical anti-inflammatory protection of the very sensitive infant gut during its post-birth maturation, and that the specific synthetic GOS, Bimuno®, has a comparable effect. With further investigation, this form of GOS may be able to provide infants with similar intestinal protection. It may also have anti-inflammatory implications for the adult gut, such as protecting against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)."
The study investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of HMOS and the unique GOS, Bimuno®, on gut inflammation using a human cell based model. Both HMOS and GOS were found to directly reduce inflammation, which is considered to be essential for healthy gut development in early life.
Further analysis of the data revealed both HMOS and the GOS, Bimuno®, which share the same major components (3'-,4-, and 6'-galactosyllactose), may:
- Help aid healthy development by protecting immature intestinal mucosa from inflammation during the important early stages of its maturation
- Help protect against infection by preserving the barrier function of the gut when subjected to pathogenic organisms
- Have an important protective role during early gut maturation
"We are excited by the results of this important study and are committed to further investigating the benefits Bimuno® could offer infants who cannot be breast fed. The next step in our robust scientific programme is an infant feeding study comparing the properties of human milk, Bimuno® and other GOS formulations," said Graham Waters, CEO at Clasado (the producers and suppliers of Bimuno®). "We hope it won't be long before infants who cannot be breast fed will be able to experience similar anti-inflammatory benefits as breast fed infants," he concluded.