Gut health benefits of prebiotic GOS during early life

A new whitepaper highlights the digestive health benefits of SureStart™ prebiotic GOS ingredients for infants and young children.

20 Feb 2023

3 min

#News #Paediatric Nutrition

A little-known fact is that an infant’s gut becomes fully established in the first year of life. It is this very reason that good gut health is vital for development. A new whitepaper titled Health benefits of GOS for infants and young children details the benefits of prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) supplementation to optimise gut health in early life. 

Globally, gut health continues to be a key purchase driver for consumers. Recent research highlights 53% of parents are concerned about their child’s digestive health1 and therefore will seek out appropriate nutritional solutions. 

Plenty of research has shown that prebiotics help to support digestive health, gut comfort and immunity, which is particularly important for infants and young children. GOS is a prebiotic that helps maintain a healthy gut by supporting an infant’s digestive function and immune system.

Good gut health is vital to infant development

The digestive tract is a complex set of organs that perform many functions essential to well-being. In addition to the primary role of breaking down and digesting food for the absorption of nutrients and water, the digestive tract and its microorganisms makes up 70% of the body’s immune system2. The infant digestive tract is relatively immature at birth, reaching maturity from around three to six months. This rapid development is often in response to a diet rich in beneficial bacteria.

Prebiotics naturally found in breast milk

As the gold standard nutrition for infants, human breast milk optimises the development of the gut, microflora and immune system with its naturally occurring prebiotics. When breastfeeding is not possible, the World Health Organisation suggests infant formula as the only suitable and safe alternative. As GOS is a prebiotic that supports the growth of beneficial bacterial, it is commonly used as a prebiotic ingredient in infant formula.

Our GOS prebiotic feeds the body’s healthy gut bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These beneficial bacteria help to establish a healthy microflora which is essential for supporting optimal health.  GOS ingredients have been shown to be safe, to support normal growth and are well tolerated by infants.

GOS supplementation can benefit infant health

Optimal gastrointestinal tract development and function is needed for healthy outcomes in infants and young children. For those infants who are not breastfed, an infant formula supplemented with GOS will help to establish a range of health benefits:

  • Increases beneficial gut bacteria
  • Helps healthy digestion and mineral absorption
  • Supports a healthy digestive function including, intestinal motility and improved stool consistency
  • Supports optimal development of the immune system
  • Protects against infections and other childhood illnesses

Our SureStart™ GOS range

We have a range of GOS ingredients which are a source of prebiotics that promote digestive health:

  • SureStart™ GOS 57
  • SureStart™ Organic GOS 57 syrups
  • SureStart™ GOS 70
  • SureStart™ GOS 70 powder

These products are suitable for infant nutrition and provide oligosaccharides to align your formulation closer to human breast milk composition as well as provide prebiotic function.  

SureStart™ GOS ingredients help manufacturers offer gut health benefits parents are increasingly looking for. Learn more about these SureStart™ GOS benefits in our new whitepaper.

Download new whitepaper on Health Benefits of GOS for Infants and Young Children

  • [1] FMCG Gurus Early Life Nutrition Survey, 2021.
  • [2] Xu RJ. Development of the newborn GI tract and its relation to colostrum/milk intake: a review. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 1996: 8(1) 35 – 48.

Fonterra supports the aim and intent of the International Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Fonterra believes that breastmilk is the ideal source of nutrition for infants and supports the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and that infants receive safe and appropriate complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age and beyond. WHO recognises that if mothers are unable to, or choose not to breastfeed then breastmilk substitutes are a safe and nutritious alternative.

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