Human milk oligosaccharides: breast milk sugars that promote a healthy infant gut
Human breast milk contains complex, indigestible sugars called human milk oligosaccharides, or HMOs. More than 200 HMOs have been identified, and they are the third most abundant factor in breast milk after fat and lactose. The primary role of HMOs is to serve as prebiotics – compounds that induce the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria. They also serve as "decoys" to protect the infant from gut infections. HMOs are not present in infant formula, however. In this clip, Dr. Erica Sonnenburg describes the important role of human milk oligosaccharides in establishing a healthy gut in an infant.
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