Xylooligosaccharides (XOS)

Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) are a special type of prebiotics belonging to the group of oligosaccharides. They consist of short chains of xylose, a sugar naturally occurring in many plants. XOS have gained increasing attention in recent years due to their positive effects on gut health and their potential to improve the microbiome.

XOS are derived from various plant sources, including bamboo, corn cobs, sugarcane bagasse, and some grains. Unlike other prebiotics like Inulin or FOS (Fructooligosaccharides), XOS are composed of shorter sugar chains, which facilitates their fermentation in the colon.

Xylooligosaccharides are available as dietary supplements and can also be found in functional foods such as yogurts, cereal bars, and beverages. The recommended dosage of XOS varies, but studies show that even small amounts (for example, 1 to 4 grams per day) can be effective.

In infant nutrition, XOS are not standardly used. The prebiotics used in infant formula are typically Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and sometimes Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). These prebiotics are specifically designed to mimic the prebiotic properties of breast milk and promote a healthy microbiome in infants. They are selected to meet the nutritional needs of babies and are part of infant formula due to extensive scientific research and strict regulatory standards.

Although XOS are promising for gut health in adults and older children, their use in infant nutrition requires careful examination and validation. The safety and efficacy for this specific age group must always be a priority.