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
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
|Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis||Bb12*||+++|
|Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum||NCIMB 8811||+++|
|Lactobacillus acidophilusNCFM *||+++|
|Lactobacillus. casei Shirota||+++|
|Lactobacillus gasseri||CR 159||+++|
|Lactobacillus reuteri||ATCC 55730||+++|
© 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
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
*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
• 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
• GOS, via the prebiotic pathway, stimulates the immune system through the production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs).19,29
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
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
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 recently completed 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.