Preterm Infant Gut Microbiome

The importance of supporting the gut microbiota for positive health outcomes in preterm infants1-5

Infants who are born prematurely often face multiple health concerns, including poor feed tolerance, reduced gut barrier function and increased risk of infection.1–3 The gut microbiota in these infants is considered to be important for protection against harmful microorganisms and for the maturation of the immune system.4 Increasing evidence suggests that promoting a healthy microbiota is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes in preterm infants.2,5

The benefits of breast milk on the microbiota

Breast milk is universally recognised as promoting the best health outcomes in both preterm and term infants by providing a unique combination of nutrients and immune-protective factors.One of the many important benefits of breast milk is the promotion of a healthy gut microbiota, which is in part attributed to the presence of prebiotic oligosaccharides (OS), which support gut intestinal flora development (figure 1).4

Inspired by breast milk

Nutricia's prebiotic oligosaccharides (OS) blend of short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long chain fructo-oligosaccharides (GOS/FOS) supports gut health.

  1. Calkins KL, et al. Clin Perinatol 2014;41(2):331–345. 
  2. Groer MW, et al. Microbiome 2014;2:(38):1-8. 
  3. Neu J. World Rev Nutr Diet 2014;110:253–263.
  4. Harmsen HJM et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2000;30(1):61–7.
  5. Boehm G et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2002;86:F178–F181.
  6. Knol J et al. Acta Paediatrica. 2005;94(Suppl 449):31–33.
  7. Mihatsch W et al. Acta Paediatr. 2006;95:843–848.
  8. Modi N et al. Pediatr Res. 2010;68:440–445. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breastfeeding is best. Foods for special medical purposes should only be used under medical supervision.


Order a free paper copy of the Preterm Parent Book



To order a free paper copy of the Preterm Parent Book, please register for your free Nutricia account or login at the link below.

Looking to speak to your local Nutricia representative?

Select ‘request a meeting/ call with a local sales rep’ as the topic of enquiry when completing our contact form, and your local account manager will be in touch shortly.


Nutricia offers access to a wide range of support services and resources including:

  • • Our free Sampling Service to order product samples and have them sent to your patients' homes.
  • • A range of CPD accredited e-learning programmes.
  • • Order free paper copies of our support tools for yourself or to use with your patients.
  • • Sign up to receiving marketing communications and be the first to know about our free educational events & webinars, the latest scientific research and product updates.