A Healthy Infant Gut Starts with Sugar

Breastmilk contains an army of disease fighting sugars known as oligosaccharides. These complex components feed desirable gut bacteria and thwart pathogens from wreaking havoc in the infant gut, sending undesirable invaders into dirty diapers. Infant formula may contain a couple synthetic oligosaccharides but these are derived from pectin, yeast, or bacteria and are structurally and functionally light years away from the real thing. Baby’s best bet for a strong immune system, reduction in acute and chronic diseases and conditions, and optimal brain development can be found in the bonanza of over 200 types of oligosaccharides found in breastmilk. This sugar buffet is absent in infant formula and one of the reasons why non-medically indicated formula supplementation should be discouraged during the window of gut programming in early infancy.


Bode L. Human milk oligosaccharides: every baby needs a sugar mama. Glycobiology 2012; 22:1147-1162.



Shugart J. Mother lode: Superhero sugars in breastmilk make the newborn gut safe for beneficial bacteria. December 27, 2013.