If lactulose is added to the formula milk, such babies have same composition of the colonic microflora as the breast-fed babies (Knol. 2005).
I see, now you’re listening… I would suggest, then, that we take a brief look at other established and suspected benefits lactulose supplements / lactulose-enriched functional foods have to offer:
Constipation – I already mentioned it in the introduction. If you ask your doctor about lactolose supplements, he will probably raise his eye-brow and say: “Are you constipated?” While the general recommendation is to treat constipation by increasing your water intake, the amount of fibrous foods you eat, etc. lactulose has a long history as an intermediate adjunct to these changes in patients of all ages, including babies.
Flatulence Warning: Don’t ingest lactulose before your first date with the girl or guy of your dreams 😉
Lactulose is an osmotic laxative. This means it will draw more water into the the colon and can thus offer relief of constipation, including chronic constipation within about 24-48h. When it reaches the intestine, the lactulose molecule is still intact. Lactulose is not digested in the small intestine as the specific disaccharidase is lacking.
It transits unchanged to the colon where it serves as an energy source for the carbohydrate-splitting bacteria, predominantly lactobacillus acidophilus and L-bifidus (Saarela et al., 2003; Cardelle-Cobas et al., 2011; Hernandez-Hernandez et al., 2012).
Lactulose “feeds” the good bacteria in your gut: As you can see in the figure to the left, the continous ingestion of 5g of lactulose for 42 days lead to statistically significant increase in the 16 healthy volunteers who were included in Bouhnik et al.’s controlled, randomised, double-blind, parallel group trial (Bouhnik. 2004).
These bacteria split lactulose into its active components that will then exert the previously mentioned osmotic effect. Unfortunately, the fermentation process, will usually give rise to some gas… especially in people who are not used to the ingestion of fibrous foods this can lead to temporary gaseous social incompatibility (aka flatulence; cf. Blanc. 1992)
via Supplement Review: Lactulose – Isomerized Lactose With Prebiotic, Anti-Constipation, -Cancer, -Hyperammonia, -Salmonella, -Endotoxin & Pro-Mineral Absorption Effects – SuppVersity: Nutrition and Exercise Science for Everyone.