Human Milk Oligosaccharides as a Missing Piece in Combating Nutritional Issues during Exclusive Breastfeeding

Verawati Sudarma, Badriul Hegar, Adi Hidayat, Rina Agustina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Extensive studies have shown that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, especially during the first six months, because it fulfills almost all of their nutritional needs. Among the many functional building blocks in breast milk, human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have been receiving more attention recently. Furthermore, it is the third most common group of compounds in human milk, and studies have demonstrated the health benefits it provides for infants, including improved nutritional status. HMOs were previously known as the ‘bifidus factor' due to their ‘bifidogenic' or prebiotic effects, which enabled the nourishment of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Healthy gastrointestinal microbiota are intestinal health substrates that increase nutrient absorption and reduce the incidence of diarrhea. In addition, HMOs, directly and indirectly, protect infants against infections and strengthen their immune system, leading to a positive energy balance and promoting normal growth. Non-modifiable factors, such as genetics, and modifiable factors (e.g., maternal health, diet, nutritional status, environment) can influence the HMO profile. This review provides an overview of the current understanding of how HMOs can contribute to the prevention and treatment of nutritional issues during exclusive breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Breast feeding
  • Human milk
  • Nutritional status
  • Oligosaccharides

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