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What Are Human Milk Oligosaccharides?

Human milk oligosaccharides are special prebiotics that can nourish your baby's immune system.

A mother holding her baby
Mar 7 2019

In their first year of life, think of all the sights, sounds and smells newborns get to experience for the first time.

As a parent, watching your child explore the world is fascinating, but you may also be a little concerned too. In this short span of time, your little one will likely be exposed to more than a thousand species of bacteria — all helping to build his or her developing immune system.

What your baby is exposed to, beginning in the womb, through infancy, toddlerhood and beyond, is vital to shaping your child's immune system, which plays a central role in their immune response to germs.

Breastfed children tend to have stronger immune systems than formula-fed infants and breakthrough research from Abbott found that this is partly due to prebiotics in breast milk called Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs).*

What are HMOs, you ask? Read on to learn how these prebiotics nourish your child's immune system and how an innovative infant formula by Similac® can help narrow some of the gaps in immunity.

2'FL-Human Milk Oligosaccharides

Abbott was the first company in the world to include this important ingredient in infant formula with the introduction of Similac Pro-Advance and Pro-Sensitive with 2'-FL HMO formula, bringing about one of the biggest advances in infant nutrition in the last decade. Pioneering research from Abbott shows that babies fed infant formula with a structurally identical version of 2'-FL to that found in breast milk had an immune response more like breastfed babies.

Your bundle of joy – whether she receives breastmilk** or formula – can get the immune-supporting benefits of 2'-FL HMO, thanks to Similac's innovative formula.

Human Milk Oligosaccharides Explained

HMOs are special prebiotics found naturally in a mother's breast milk. They are the most abundant solid ingredient in breast milk after fat and carbohydrates. In breastfed babies, HMOs are scientifically shown to positively affect the microbiome.

"HMOs help strengthen immunity because they feed the beneficial bacteria in your baby's gut where 70 percent of the immune system exists," says Rachael Buck, Ph.D., an Abbott researcher and immune expert.

While there are more than 100 different types of HMOs, 2'-FL HMO (2'-fucosyllactose) is the most plentiful HMO in most mothers' breast milk. 2'-FL HMO is a prebiotic that was previously only available to infants who were breastfed. But that has changed thanks to a scientific breakthrough from Abbott.

Interactive Graphic: What Are HMOs?

 
*not from human milk
**2'-FL is found in most mom's breastmilk
 

 

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