What is GOS?
You may have heard a lot about galactooligosaccharides (GOS) recently and wondered what they are?
In short, they are a type of fibre which feed good bacteria in your large intestine. Although there are several types of prebiotics, such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS), GOS can give a prebiotic effect but at a low dose*. Higher doses of prebiotics may increase gas production in some people, which is why receiving an effect on your good bacteria at the lowest dose can be important.
How does GOS work?
GOS is a fermentable fibre and is not digested until it reaches your large intestine. Once there it is used as food for and increases the levels of good bacteria improving the balance and diversity of your gut microbiota. Studies on Bimuno® (a type of GOS), have shown that this will start to happen after 2-3 days.
Why should I take GOS?
Instead of consuming live strains of bacteria in a probiotic supplement, a prebiotic such as GOS feeds the good bacteria that you already have in your gut, acting as a fertiliser. Bifidobacteria, is an important bacteria which contributes to many important processes in your body, including digestion, immunity and cognition, and its numbers in the gut naturally decrease as we age.
Commercially available GOS, like Bimuno, is manufactured by adding an enzyme to lactose** in controlled conditions, which ensures that it offers a consistent prebiotic effect in every dose. Different GOS supplements are produced from different enzymes and therefore the effects may vary.
Prebiotics in food
Some prebiotics such as FOS can also be found naturally in fruit and vegetables such as beans peas, lentils and wholegrains. A varied plant-based diet can provide the recommended 30g fibre (which includes the recommended 5g of fermentable prebiotic fibre) that we should eat every day.
Other sources of fibre
According to a National Diet and Nutrition survey conducted by Public Health England, only 4% of women and 9% of men achieve the recommended daily intake of fibre. A GOS supplement, like Bimuno, contributes 2g (40%) of our 5g recommended daily fermentable fibre intake. This will help you support the levels of good bacteria in your gut and help achieve the daily target 30g of fibre as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
*Clinical studies show that Bimuno has an effect at a daily dose of 2.8g. FOS is recommended at a dose between 5g – 10g/day
**The lactose value in Bimuno is under the EFSA threshold of 12g/single dose https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1777