What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary carbohydrates that are able to selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon. One of the most studied prebiotic is an oligosaccharide mixture, Galacto-oligosaccharide: long chain Fructo-oligosaccharide mixture (9:1). The oligosaccharide mixture GOS/lcFOS (9:1) helps stimulating beneficial microbial growth, lowering levels of potentially pathogenic bacteria, leading to a gut environment with lower pH.
They are different from the probiotics. Probiotics help in digestion by helping the friendly bacteria grow in the intestine4. The friendly bacteria have a huge role in the overall wellbeing of your child’s digestive health.
The patented prebiotics oligosaccharide GOS/lcFOS (9:1) mixture
Developed in 1994, the unique prebiotic mixture of 90% short chain galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) and 10% long-chain fructo-oligosaccharide (lcFOS) is one of the most studied prebiotics mixtures. In fact, this has been granted a patent for its uniqueness in numerous countries including the ones in Europe and Asia-pacific.
The studies conducted on this prebiotic conclude that it is safe, effective, and provides benefits beyond mere digestion. In a clinical study observed more than 900 children above 1 years old in six countries, it was noted that the children who had Growing Up Milk (GUM) fortified with this unique prebiotic for over a year were less susceptible to infections than those who used the normal GUM. Children going to preschools and not falling ill often! Isn’t that a dream of every mum?
How does it work?
The oligosaccharide mixture GOS/lcFOS(9:1) helps in the formation of stools in a very interesting manner. The mixture passes undigested through the stomach and small intestine. In the large intestine, we have colonies of friendly bacteria. They help us in our overall wellbeing. The oligosaccharide mixture GOS/lcFOS (9:1) is acted upon by two such friendly bacteria: Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli to form Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)5.
The formation of SCFA has three main effects1,2,3.
Acidic conditions increase the motility of the intestine. Thus, optimal water is retained in the waste matter, forming bulky, soft stools. This ensures that your child has a bowel movement at a regular interval and the stools are not hard and distressing.
2# Bacterial shield
With the lower pH, the useful bacteria, especially the bifidobacteria grow in number. It also stimulates the growth of specific types of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, the good bacteria.
This in turn, resist the growth of harmful bacteria. Less harmful bacteria would mean less episodes of diarrhoea. This gives your body a protective shield!
3# Thicker intestinal lining
SCFA promotes a thicker lining of the intestine. It prevents the harmful bacteria from entering the blood via the intestine. This reduces the chances of infections, promoting good health.
Here is an illustration of how GOS/lcFOS(9:1) mixture helps in the formation of soft, bulky stools.
Other benefits of Oligosaccharide GOS/lcFOS (9:1) mixture
There are a number of other benefits your child can get by using a formula fortified with this particular prebiotic. The patented prebiotic oligosaccharide mixture is shown to reduce the allergic symptoms in the children such as dermatitis, reduction in symptoms of asthma, and even diaper dermatitis. There are also numerous studies with beneficial effects in stool consistency and frequency. These effects depend on the specific structure and amount of prebiotic compound in studied formula. However do note that findings from one type of prebiotic compound or mixtures cannot simply be translated to other prebiotic compounds.
1. Colon microflora in infants fed formula with galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides: more like breast-fed infants. Knol J, Scholtens P. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2005; 40:36-42
2. An infant formula containing prebiotics changes the intestinal microflora of term infants. Knol, J., Van der Linde. .J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003;36:130.
3. Dosage-related bifidogenic effects of galacto- and fructo-oligosaccharides in formula-fed term infants. Moro G, Minoli I. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2002 Mar;34(3):291-5.
4. The Use of Probiotics in Pediatric Gastroenterology: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations by Latin-American Experts. Sylvia Cruchet, Raquel Furnes. Paediatr Drugs. 2015; 17(3): 199–216.
5. Stool characteristics of infants receiving short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides: A review. Petra AMJ Scholtens, Dominique AM Goossens, and Annamaria Staiano. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Oct 7; 20(37): 13446–13452.