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Breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for infants. However, for infants whose mothers cannot or choose not to breastfeed, breast milk substitutes are recognised by the World Health Organisation as safe and nutritious alternatives.

Comparison between the composition of human and bovine milk

Oligosaccharide Charts

Oligosaccharide content varies over time between individuals. Data presented on a dry matter basis. *An estimate.

Breast milk substitutes are formulated using cow’s milk, however cow’s milk does not contain the vital oligosaccharides (prebiotics) found in breastmilk. Eight per cent of breast milk is made up by prebiotics, which play an important role in supporting the baby’s natural defences,38 increasing mineral absorption4-6 and aiding digestive comfort.7-9 NZMP SureStart GOS is a prebiotic supplement added to infant formulas to make infant formulas closer to the composition of breast milk for mothers who can’t or choose not to breastfeed.

Support natural defences

NZMP SureStart™ GOS feeds the friendly bacteria

Prebiotics exert a range of functions. The most well-known is to feed the friendly bacteria bifidobacteria1 in the infant’s large intestine.

Babies are born with an almost sterile gastrointestinal tract. Over time, the large intestine becomes progressively colonised by different bacteria, creating a mixed bacterial colony in the gut. Health-promoting Bifidobacteria become the predominant bacteria in the large intestine in babies who are breastfed over the next two years.39,40

In an analysis of seven scientific trials involving GOS in a prebiotic mixture, it was shown that the dietary supplementation of prebiotics in new born babies resulted in an increase in friendly gut bacteria (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli).41

NZMP SureStart GOS can be used as an ingredient in infant formula, and its ability to encourage the growth of friendly bifidobacteria has similarities to the prebiotics found in human breast milk. Prebiotics such as NZMP SureStart GOS have been used widely in infant formulas over the past two decades. They are resistant to digestion in the upper GI tract and their efficacy is proven in a number of clinical trials.11,12,41

NZMP SureStart GOS supports baby’s natural defences

Scientific trials show that the use of prebiotics decreases the rate of infections that require antibiotic treatment in infants and children aged 0–24 months.2

Prebiotics such as NZMP SureStart GOS have a direct and indirect effect on the part of the immune system associated with the large intestine, helping to protect the body against harmful bacteria and viruses. Bifidobacteria have been shown to help infants form IgA, an antibody found in mucous secretions, which prevents infection by harmful bacteria.38

Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) produced by friendly bacteria have also been shown to enhance nonspecific immune responses.11,12,3 This is particularly important as infants have an immune system which has not fully developed. A combination of NZMP SureStart GOS with an immune-stimulating Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria probiotic can also be considered.

Increase mineral absorption

NZMP SureStart GOS improves mineral absorption

NZMP SureStart 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, NZMP SureStart 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

NZMP SureStart GOS aids digestive comfort

A clinical trial comparing three treatments (breast-feeding, formula-feeding, GOS-supplemented formula-feeding) demonstrated that GOS-supplemented formula mimicked the effect of human milk in promoting Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli growth, and in inhibiting the growth of the harmful bacteria Clostridium. This resulted in a significantly lower presence of colic.42

Further evidence shows that supplementing infant formula with prebiotics such as NZMP SureStart GOS, helps to align the composition of gut bacteria of formula-fed babies closer to that of breast-fed babies. Also, the subsequent changes in gut fermentative activity, such as increased production of SCFAs and decreasing faecal pH, brings stool consistency and defecation frequency closer to that of breast-fed infants.32

Our Partnership with NZMP™

Saputo Dairy UK has an exclusive partnership with NZMP, Fonterra’s global brand of dairy ingredients. We have collaborated with NZMP to supply SureStart GOS; this partnership is built on a common goal of bringing best-in-class ingredients, quality and service to our customers.

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What is NZMP SureStart™?

SureStart™ is NZMP’s brand of paediatric ingredients, which promises to deliver high performing ingredients developed through profound expertise in milk components for paediatric applications.

Every NZMP SureStart ingredient is made from high quality milk, which is carefully monitored throughout the value chain, delivering uncompromising quality and consistent performance.

Food safety is fundamental to the manufacture of paediatric products, which is why the ingredients used in NZMP SureStart meet stringent safety requirements.

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Why Choose SureStart™ GOS for Infant Nutrition?

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NZMP SureStart GOS is designed to be added to infant formula. It contains GOS to promote the development of the infant gut and growth of beneficial bacteria, supporting an improved stool consistency3. It also enhances immunity helping to protect against infection and increases the bioavailability of essential minerals. 1

To download our brochure, please click here.

NZMP SureStart GOS is available in a range of formulations:
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