Nature's building blocks for health

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs)

Getting the right things to grow

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) are a collection of complex carbohydrates based on lactose and other sugars and are the third most abundant solid component of human milk after lactose and lipids. A breastfeeding mother provides her baby with HMOs, which support the development of the desired microbiota by serving as a food source for the good bacteria in the intestine. 

Developing the immune system

An infant’s intestines, intestinal microbiota, and immune system are still developing at birth, and their proper development is important for health, including in the long term.

The HMOs in mother’s milk play key roles in the development of effective intestinal barrier function and the immune system, and certain HMOs may also play a role in the development of the baby’s brain. 

Digestible only by beneficial bacteria

Only a very minor fraction of HMOs are absorbed by the infant. HMOs are selectively used to support the growth of certain beneficial bacterial species in the infant’s gut. Overall, the community of good bacteria aid in digestion to produce vitamins, influence bowel movements, help regulate the immune system, and help keep pathogens under control. Establishing beneficial microbiota early in life is important for both for the infant’s health and later in life.

Commercially available for the first time

HMOs are one of nature’s ways of giving us a healthy start in life. They have been heavily researched and documented extensively in the scientific literature since late 20th century, but until recently they could only be found in mother’s milk. They were just too complex to make at industrial scale. DSM has made the scientific breakthroughs necessary to produce HMOs and make them commercially available for the first time. Our oligosaccharides are identical in structure to those in mother’s milk, they are highly purified and safe for their intended use in infant nutrition.

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