GOS’s are a form of prebiotics that have great benefit to people with digestive issues.

What Are GOS’s?

Galacto-oligosaccharides are a chain of galactose (monosaccharide sugar) units that are produced by the enzymatic hydrolysis of lactose. Like other prebiotics, GOS’s are unabsorbed by the intestines and are fermentable in the gut by bacteria.1 Galacto-oligosaccharides seem to be the gold standard of prebiotics, and I recommend them for use in most cases of poor intestinal health.

How GOS Supplementation Reduces Endotoxin Production In The Gut

Gram-negative bacteria have a component of their cell wall known as LPS or endotoxin. Small doses of endotoxins that leak out of the intestines have been shown to consistently trigger inflammation, which is commonly known as “leaky gut.” It is normal for us to have gram-negative bacteria as flora throughout our body, but when overgrowth and virulence occur, too many can overload our bodies natural defenses to protect us and eliminate endotoxins and issues occur.2

Even worse larger doses of endotoxins that leak into the bloodstream become a serious medical condition known as endotoxemia, which causes widespread severe inflammation and organ damage/failure.3

So how do GOS’s reduce endotoxin production in the gut?

GOS’s have also been shown to be very selective and limit the growth of opportunistic bacteria including E. coli, Klebsiella, Prevotella, Salmonella typhimurium, and Clostridia in the gut.4 5

Galacto-oligosaccharides have been shown in studies to increase naturally gut flora populations of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. Bifidobacteria seems to benefit greatly from GOS supplementation and increase more in number with it than any other prebiotic. Normal populations of Lactobacillus in our gut help reduce the population of opportunistic bacteria in our gut by decreasing the pH, thus reducing endotoxin load. Also, try to use a GOS supplement that was produced from Bifidobacteria enzymes for a greater synergistic effect. 6 7

Supplementation of GOS’s seems to increase SIgA levels in the intestine tract by increasing Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli populations in the gut and reduce opportunist endotoxin producing gram-negative bacteria. Secretory IgA is a class of antibodies produced by a mucosal surface and is considered the first line of defense against endotoxins and opportunistic organisms in the gut. SIgA levels are different for everyone but when levels are too low (mucosal barrier is very damaged, the immune system not reacting to endotoxins or pathogens), or very high (immune system is overreacting to endotoxins or pathogens), leaky gut may be occurring and endotoxins leak into the bloodstream from the gut.8 9 10

GOS Supplementation Helps Improve SIBO Protocols and Recovery

Galacto-oligosaccharides have been shown in studies to cause the least amount of flatulence compared to other prebiotics. Only in levels, way above the recommended supplementation range (greater than fifteen grams) were flatulence and diarrhea reported. Even in large doses of twelve grams daily, no digestion discomfort was reported. GOS are selectively fermented and as such have a low chance of causing flatulence or SIBO. A GOS prebiotic supplement is technically considered a FODMAP, but it has lowered fermentation potential compared to other prebiotic supplements.11 12

Supplementation of GOS’s might help improve the use of Rifaximin or anti-microbial agents against SIBO. Though there is not a study done with the use of GOS and Rifaximin, there is one with the used of hydrolysed guar gum. The researchers of the study come to the conclusion that because HGG increases Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in the intestinal tract and restoring proper MMC transit time it helps improve SIBO outcomes. I believe that the same conclusion can be made with GOS supplementation, since GOS as a prebiotic can do both of these things and more.13 14

The process of fermenting GOS’s in the colon produces anti-microbial agents that help eliminate opportunity bacteria and limit their ability to adhere to the intestinal tract. GOS’s can also restore proper bowel function and relieve chronic constipation with its use. Finally, GOS’s improve intestinal mucosa and villi function and can help relieve leaky gut.15

Other Benefits of GOS Supplementation

There are even more reasons to supplement galacto-oligosaccharides than just improving overall gut health. GOS’s have been shown to reduce allergy severity, reduce the chance of infectious diseases, improve calcium / magnesium absorption, increase bone density, and even reduce the severity of the common cold and the flu when supplemented.16 17

My Recommended GOS Supplement

The only GOS supplement I currently recommend is Galactomune by Klaire Labs. It does contain beta glucans so use with caution if you are allergic to yeast. I recommend taking two scoops daily in place of probiotics in any of the protocols listed in Fix Your Gut.