HMO for Infant Nutrition and Health
Ardythe L. Morrow, PhD
|Date:||10 May 2017|
|Location:||Prague, Czech Republic|
Human Milk Oligosaccharide for Infant Nutrition and Health: Composition & Functions
Dr Ardythe Morrow presents an overview of human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) biology. After lipids and lactose, HMOs are the third most abundant solid component of human milk. Over 150 different HMO structures occur naturally in human milk, and they occur with intriguing variability across populations and lactation stage. The fucosylated HMOs (f-HMOs) are generally most abundant in human milk, however Dr Morrow explains that mom’s genetic capability of adding fucose to lactose limits f-HMO abundance in some moms.
Genetics aside, HMOs have been shown to act as prebiotics that help colonize the newborn infant gut with beneficial bacteria, such as the genus Bifidobacterium. Specific HMOs, such as 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL), mimic structures on the gut lining and act as ‘receptor decoys’ that promote elimination of pathogenic bacteria that would otherwise attach to the gut lining. 2’-FL also occurs in the bloodstream where it appears to help facilitate immune health by directly binding to immune cells.
Altogether, the parallel advances in human milk biochemistry and microbiome research hold great promise for improving infant health.
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