Synbiotic mixture promotes healthy gut environment in infants
A synbiotic mixture of Bifidobacterium breve M-16V and scGOS/lcFOS*, containing bacterial levels similar to human milk, promotes healthy gut microbiota development among infants and yields a gut environment close to that in breastfed babies, a recent study has found.
The study included 239 healthy infants, aged 6–19 weeks, who were given a control formula alone or in combination with 0.8g/100 mL scGOS/lcFOS, with either B. breve M-16V at 1×104 (Syn4 group) or 1×106 cfu/mL (Syn6 group) concentrations. A parallel group of 42 exclusively breastfed infants was also included as reference.
After 6 weeks of intervention, the proportion of bifidobacteria was significantly higher in both Syn4 and Syn6 groups, as compared to the formula controls. However, this bifidogenic effect was attenuated following a 2-week washout period. Relative microbial abundance was assessed using fluorescent in situ hybridization.
Notably, the two synbiotic arms also showed significantly larger drops in Eubacterium rectale/Clostridium coccoides than did control infants. The prevalence of the potentially pathogenic microbe Clostridium difficile was similarly significantly suppressed in both Syn4 and Syn6 groups, achieving levels closer to the breastfed comparators.
Moreover, faecal pH and L-lactate likewise achieved levels similar to the breastfed controls, such that no significant differences existed between the two groups. These effects were temporary and were attenuated after the 2-week washout period.
In terms of safety and tolerability, stool frequency did not differ significantly across all three treatment groups, though stool became significantly softer in both synbiotic arms. No serious adverse events were reported.
*Short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides