In the previous issues we discussed microbiome in relation to fertility and pregnancy. Let’s now continue the journey for newborns.
Like genes, microbes pass from mother to child, and babies born vaginally have more diversified gut bacteria than those delivered by caesarean.
Another factor heavily affecting the composition and development of infant gut microbiome is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has a profound effect on the development of the newborn as breastmilk, in addition to providing nutrients and protective compounds, also helps develop gut microbiome. These nutrients – human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) – are specifically metabolised by gut bacteria, strongly favouring the proliferation of bifidobacteria, essential for proper development of the infant gut microbiome. Breast milk may also serve as a source of external microbes, aiding in the appropriate priming and development of the infant gut microbiome.
During the first three years of life, gut microbiome matures into an adult-like gut microbiome with a multitude of different microbial species, primarily bacteria. The transition is mainly driven by weaning and the gradual introduction of solid foods. Primary changes observed are a decrease in bifidobacteria and an increase in other bacterial species. Proper development of the gut microbiome is of utmost importance to help prevent various adverse long-term conditions like asthma.
Probiotics may shape the microbiome toward a healthy, balanced state. Bifidobacteria, frequently in combination with lactobacilli, have proven beneficial in children, where a dysbiotic microbiome is implied – like antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
The combination has also been shown to reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, probiotics seem to affect the overall health of preterm infants with a marked reduction in the risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Probiotic consumption during pregnancy may even affect the composition of HMOs in breastmilk.
Summary: probiotics for the first 1,000 days of life
Research has shown the microbiota is pivotal in the development infants, in addition to nutrition, findings that have fostered the concept of ‘the first 1,000 days’, covering pregnancy and the first two years of life. This has now been extended to ‘the first 1,500 days’ to account for the importance of the microbiome during pre-conception. In all the stages covering the first 1,500 days, probiotics are suggested to be vital in ensuring an optimal conception state, pregnancy progression, infant development, and child maturation.
About MAAB probiotics
MAAB's Fastmelt probiotic supplements are purpose-made probiotic products. MAVAG is researched and developed to help maintain a balanced vaginal microbiota, while the product Immuno is designed for daily support of the immune system.
Even better, MAAB Fastmelts are unlike many supplement products in the form of capsules or pills for they are a tasty but sugar-free probiotic powder that can be ingested directly without water. So, it’s quite a pleasant and healthy trick even for children and those who resent the idea of taking pills to stay healthy.