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Probiotics in the New Era of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs): HMO Utilization and Beneficial Effects of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis M-63 on Infant Health.

Microorganisms 2024 May 18
A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for the immune system and overall development of infants. Bifidobacterium has been known to be a predominant species in the infant gut; however, an emerging concern is the apparent loss of this genus, in particular, Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ( B. infantis ) in the gut microbiome of infants in industrialized nations, underscoring the importance of restoring this beneficial bacterium. With the growing understanding of the gut microbiome, probiotics, especially infant-type human-residential bifidobacteria (HRB) strains like B. infantis , are gaining prominence for their unique ability to utilize HMOs and positively influence infant health. This article delves into the physiology of a probiotic strain, B. infantis M-63, its symbiotic relationship with HMOs, and its potential in improving gastrointestinal and allergic conditions in infants and children. Moreover, this article critically assesses the role of HMOs and the emerging trend of supplementing infant formulas with the prebiotic HMOs, which serve as fuel for beneficial gut bacteria, thereby emulating the protective effects of breastfeeding. The review highlights the potential of combining B. infantis M-63 with HMOs as a feasible strategy to improve health outcomes in infants and children, acknowledging the complexities and requirements for further research in this area.

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