What are Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO)? 4 Main functions of HMO 2'-FL

What are Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO)? 


Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO) is complex sugars that are available in human milk. They are the 3rd largest solid component in breast milk after fat and lactose and have no nutritive function. HMO is responsible for directly stimulating the immune system by promoting good gut bacteria, strengthening the gut barrier function and blocking pathogens.

Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO) is the main differences between Human Milk and Cow Milk 

Since 2000, numerous studies have proven the physiological activity of HMO and its importance in babies’ health 


4 Main functions of HMO 2'-FL

The various ingredients in breast milk each help the baby grow and develop. Among the various components of breast milk, human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) is studied to affect human intestinal, immune, and brain development.

Helps gut health

Human milk oligosaccharide is a bifidus growth factor. Especially 2’-FL selectively increases intestinal Bifidobacterium because Bifidobacterium bifidum, B. dentium, B. infantis, only these three types of bifidobacteria, can utilize it. Bifidobacterium which metabolites 2’-FL, secretes strong acidic acetic acid, which results in lower pH circumstances where harmful bacteria can not proliferate well and finally increases relative dominance of Bifidobacteria to make a healthy gut system.


Helps immune health

Human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) acts directly on the intestinal epithelium of a person, resulting in an increase of immunoglobulin. And human milk oligosaccharide enhances both humoral immunity and cellular immunity by suppressing inflammatory factors, which helps the immune system mature by improving a person's innate immune system. It has been also reported this immune-boosting mechanism also affects the reduction of food-borne allergies.


Helps your memory and cognitive health

The human brain is made up of billions of neurons which receive or send information through synapses. Repeated events such as something happening frequently or investigating it can reinforce synapses of the brain, called long-term potentialization (LTP), which can be seen as memory formation. HMO 2'-FL affects this Long-term potentialization (LTP) and there are many animal experiments that help improve memory and learning skills.


Helps Skin and Tooth health

Aforementioned Inflammation control mechanism of the human milk oligosaccharide (HMO)-FL weakens the inflammation of keratinocytes and the prevention mechanism of harmful bacteria helps prevent cavities by interfering with growth and tooth attachment of cavity bacteria.


HMO Applications

  • The Benefits of Breast Milk can be brought into Formula Milk, Functional Food and Cosmetics etc
  • Possibility to Prevent and Treat Brain Health Related Diseases and Infections via the Microbiome

In 2016, Abbott Nutrient in the United States, famous of its Similac products, launched human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) 2’-FL contained infant formula and in 2017, Nestle has also released human milk oligosaccharide-containing products and exported to many countries.  Currently there are 42 countries that sell Infant Formula with HMO.