Galactooligosaccharides Introduction

Galactooligosaccharides are basically small chains of galactose molecules. A group consisting of carbohydrates which are composed of oligo-galactose along with glucose and lactose is collectively termed as galactooligosaccharides (GOS). These are produced naturally. On the commercial scale, these are produced from lactose by beta-galactosidase 4. These compounds have a number of health benefits as well as issues.

Market for galactooligosaccharides (GOS)

The global market for galactooligosaccharides is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% during the forecast period of 2014-2020. The increase in the market industry of GOS is attributed to the increasing infant population. The growth in the infant population is leading to the need for supplements like GOS, and hence the market for GOS is expanding at a fair rate. The additional benefits of GOS also play key roles in the growth of the GOS market at the global level.

Advantages and Disadvantages of galactooligosaccharides:


GOS facilitate the growth of Bifidobacteria. This is a beneficial bacterium which inhabits the large intestine, thus GOS serve as the stimulators towards the growth of healthy bacteria in the human body.

GOS serve the purpose of soluble dietary fiber. This property makes GOS a product of advantage to the human body as they help in softening the stool and hence, improving the frequency of bowel movements.

GOS assist the natural defense mechanism of the body. They support the gut microflora, which in turn maintain the intestinal immune system.

GOS increase the absorption of minerals. Minerals like calcium which are of immense use to the human body, are absorbed in small quantities by the body. GOS facilitate the absorption of such minerals, thus maintain a healthy state.

GOS improve the results of probiotics. These when added to probiotics result in increased numbers of beneficial bacteria as compared to probiotics taken alone. Also, this combination helps in improving the resistance towards respiratory infections.


GOS can result in temporary intestinal problems. Conditions such as bloating or increased gas formation can occur when a person starts taking these or if the amount of intake of these compounds is considerably high.

GOS tend to assist the growth of unhelpful bacteria. GOS are known to increase the population of helpful bacteria in the human body but there may occur situations in which the increased population of beneficial bacteria in the body helps in the growth of unhelpful bacteria as well, thus causing harm to the body.


Galactooligosaccharideshave a spectrum of benefits over the human body. Along with these benefits, they hold certain drawbacks which are certainly undesirable. Hence, a person should learn the facts about GOS in order to extract the best out of this product.

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