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What Makes GOS Unique?

GOS is the only prebiotic derived from the lactose in cow’s milk. All other prebiotics originate from vegetable sources. For example Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are extracted from the chicory root. Equally important, GOS is similar to the prebiotic oligosaccharides found in human breast milk1,14 - that is why it is included in baby milk formulas and preferred by mothers who can’t or choose not to breastfeed.

GOS has four unique properties:

A complex molecular structure, which has a prolonged beneficial effect in the large intestine.17,18


Molecular structure comparison between sources of prebiotics17

Molecular structure comparison chart

Galacto-oligosaccharides produced via an enzyme catalysed process are oligosaccharides of galactose with a reducing end glucose.

GOS has a relative complex molecule structure compared to other oligosaccharides, which is a good thing as it gives GOS a prolonged effect in the colon where it stimulates different types of bacteria to produce a diverse range of SCFAs.

A high Prebiotic Index means it is highly digestible by ‘friendly’ bacteria, helping them to thrive.12,15


GOS Prebiotic Index chart18

Strain Galacto-oligosaccharides
Bifidobacterium adolescentis DSM20083 +++
Bifidobacterium animalis DSM20105 +++
Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bb12* +++
Bifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB8810 +++
Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 +++
Bifidobacterium infantis NCDO2205 +++
Bifidobacterium longum CCUG15137 +++
Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum NCIMB 8811 +++
Lactobacillus acidophilusNCFM * +++
Lactobacillus amylovorus DSM20552 +++
Lactobacillus casei DN-144-001* +++
Lactobacillus. casei Shirota +++
Lactobacillus delbrueckiisubsp.lactis DSM20073 +++
Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716* +++
Lactobacillus gasseri CR 159 +++
Lactobacillus johnsoniiLA-1* ++
Lactobacillus paracasei CRL431 +++
Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 +++
Lactobacillus rhamnosusGG* +++

© 2012 University College Cork
1134 Journal of Applied Microbiology 114, 1132–1146 © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology

These ‘friendly’ bacteria produce a diverse range of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) which exert significant and recently discovered beneficial effects in the gut.19-29


Essential functions of SCFAs in establishing and maintaining a healthy gut19-25

Healthy gut diagram

As well as a ‘Prebiotic Effect’ common to all prebiotics, GOS also has a direct effect on the immune system which separates GOS from other commonly used prebiotics.30


GOS: ‘Direct’ and ‘Prebiotic’ mode of action3,4,19-28

Mode of action diagram

*Direct interaction with gut epithelial cells

Mechanisms may include: protection of epithelial integrity and suppression of interleukin-8 (CXCL8/IL-8) release - galacto syllactoses can act as strong anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, there may be direct stimulation of goblet cells to produce mucin enhancing the mucosal barrier function.

**GOS + bifidobacteria modulation of the immune system

GOS, in conjunction with a Bifidobacterium breve, has been shown to suppress food allergy symptoms through mechanisms that result in a reduction in intestinal allergic inflammation.

***SCFAs (especially butyrate) modulation of the immune system

Essential for the maintenance of intestinal epithelium physiology both by regulating the cellular turnover and barrier functions, and for modulating the response after inflammatory/infectious stimulation.

Please contact us for a full scientific presentation on the properties and benefits of GOS:


Support natural defences

GOS supports the body’s natural defences

We all come into contact with harmful bacteria every day and some may be ingested in the food we eat. A healthy digestive system is essential as it is the body’s first line of defence against infection

GOS enhances the natural barriers in the gut

It stimulates the production of mucin to line the gut, providing an effective barrier31

GOS combats harmful bacteria by:

Helping friendly bacteria, especially Bifidobacteria, to thrive and outcompete harmful bacteria12,15,16

Reducing the pH in the gut, an acidic environment is more hostile to harmful bacteria16,32

Exerting an antimicrobial effect which kills harmful bacteria (a ‘natural antibiotic effect’)22,23

GOS stimulates the gut immune system
‘Direct’ effect

GOS ‘directly’ modulates the immune system through its interaction with the epithelial cells in the gut wall and also helps to improve gut cell health30

GOS in conjunction with Bifidobacteria has been shown to suppress intestinal allergic inflammation33

Prebiotic effect

GOS, via the prebiotic pathway, stimulates the immune system through the production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs).19,29

Essential functions of SCFAs in establishing and maintaining a healthy gut19-25

Healthy gut diagram
In the elderly

GOS has a potential role in helping to reverse age-related changes to the bacteria in the gut.34,35 In healthy elderly people (67-88 years), a decrease in ‘friendly’ bacteria has been shown to be common.36 These changes can alter the effective functioning of the gut.36 Some studies show that age-associated changes in the composition of the bacteria can cause inflammation, which can lead to inflammatory diseases. Including GOS in the diet can help to reduce age-associated inflammation.37

Natural defences diagram

Adapted from reference 31 

Increase Mineral Absorption

GOS helps increase the absorption of essential minerals from our diet4-6

By helping to ensure healthy epithelial cells and by lowering the pH in the gut to make it more acidic, GOS improves mineral absorption:


Calcium has several important functions that include helping build strong bones and teeth, regulating muscle contractions (including the heartbeat) and ensuring blood clots normally.


Iron is important in making the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. A shortage of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.


Zinc is important for the normal functioning of the immune system. Zinc also helps make new cells and aids wound healing.


Magnesium is essential for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. It also reduces tiredness and improves psychological function.

Aid Digestive Comfort

GOS aids digestive comfort

GOS improves gut motility, in other words ‘keeping regular’, helps avoid constipation, diarrhoea and associated problems.7-9

This can be particularly important in the elderly. As we age we become less active, reduce our fluid intake and eat a less well balanced diet. This combination of events often causes constipation.

Saputo Dairy UK
manufacturing plant

Saputo Dairy UK research, innovation and manufacturing expertise

Saputo Dairy UK is at the forefront of research into GOS and gut health. Investment in a state of the art research and product development facility at Harper Adams University is our commitment to improving gut health in humans and animals.

Saputo Dairy UK is the leading UK owned dairy foods manufacturer. Following a £20M capital investment, we have a new GOS production facility at our Davidstow site in Cornwall.

It is here that GOS is manufactured to rigorous physical, chemical and microbial standards. The Davidstow site has the following accreditations: FSCC 220000, ISO 14001, FEMAS, BRC and AFS.

GOS explained 1

GOS Syrup manufactured from EU lactose powder.

GOS explained 2

Packed into IBC format and bulk tankers, also available as powder.

GOS explained 3

57%, 70%, and 90% polymer level. Organic, kosher, halal claims.

A range of GOS brands

GOS can be added to a wide range of infant, adult and animal nutritional formulations to differentiate and add value. It is marketed to the food and feed industry via the following brands:
saputo nutritionals
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Gut health is essential for wellbeing throughout the human lifecycle

Maintaining gut health is essential for us all – even during our adult working life and in old age.

GOS is the foundation of gut health and has been shown to: