Clinical studies in infants, children and adults consistently found that HMO supplementation was safe and well tolerated. Infant studies reported a shift in outcomes such as gut microbiome and immune markers towards those observed in breastfed infants.
In recent years, analytical and technological advances have offered valuable insights into the multiple health benefits associated with HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides).
Global bioscience company Chr. Hansen is a leading supplier of HMOs, manufactured on a large scale in addition to e.g. infant formula and dietary supplements.
In a new systematic review published in Nutrients, the HMO science team from Chr. Hansen has compiled data from 26 clinical studies on HMOs published until the end of 2022, using manufactured HMOs in various study populations. These populations include healthy-term infants, infants with medical indications, children, and adults.
- All studies reported safety and tolerance of the respective single HMO and HMO blends, the HMOs applied differed in complexity and dosage.
- Several studies reported a positive shift in outcomes towards those observed in breastfed infants - including stool characteristics, gut microbiome composition, intestinal immune markers, and beneficial effects on gut health and the immune system.
- Beneficial gut health and immune system effects have also been observed in other populations following HMO supplementation.
Focus on strengthening scientific insights and expertise
In addition, Chr. Hansen published a new study in June 2023 focusing on how infant formula supplemented with five human milk oligosaccharides shifts the fecal microbiome of formula-fed infants closer to that of breastfed infants. It showed an increase in the relative abundance of bifidobacteria in the 5 HMO Mix cohort compared with the formula-fed control.
“At Chr. Hansen, we continuously create research and clinical trials to further explore the effects of HMO supplementation on human health and to understand the structure and dose dependency of HMOs. It is a strategic priority for us to invest in building in-depth knowledge in this emerging field and provide insights on the benefits of HMOs,” says Dr. Katja Parschat, Head of Research & Development, Chr. Hansen HMO.
“Our aim is to support the healthy development of infants that cannot be breastfed by providing HMOs as an ingredient for infant formula. With the publication of the in-depth systematic review, Chr. Hansen contributes to building knowledge on the beneficial effects of HMO, assessing the current study level. We are happy to provide this to customers and researchers to facilitate and to collaborate on further insight building around HMOs,” she concludes.
Only in June, Chr. Hansen received EU authorization for the final HMO in its MyOli™ 5 HMO Mix, containing 2’-FL, 3-FL, LNT, 3’-SL and 6’-SL and approved for infant formula and follow-on- formula at the currently highest use levels in the industry.
What are HMOs?
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are a major component of human milk, associated with multiple health benefits including shaping a healthy infant gut microbiome, possibly supporting brain development and the maintenance of a well-balanced immune system, reducing the risk of bacterial imbalance and maturing and maintaining the integrity of the intestine. Read more here
The new HMO study review includes 26 published relevant clinical trials and five publications describing follow-up studies. The clinical trials varied in study populations, including healthy term infants, infants with medical indications, children, and adults. They tested eight different HMO structures individually or as blends in varying dosages.
Chr. Hansen supports the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) towards breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, followed by continued breastfeeding together with complementary foods.
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