First Gut Bacteria in Infants May Have Lasting Impact on Ability to Fight Chronic Diseases

by Adeline Dorcas on  September 19, 2018 at 11:38 AM Research News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

First gut bacteria after birth may have a lasting effect on the ability to combat chronic diseases, reports a new study.
First Gut Bacteria in Infants May Have Lasting Impact on Ability to Fight Chronic Diseases
First Gut Bacteria in Infants May Have Lasting Impact on Ability to Fight Chronic Diseases

New research showing that the first bacteria introduced into the gut have a lasting impact may one day allow science to adjust microbiomes--the one-of-a-kind microbial communities that live in our gastrointestinal tracts--to help ward off serious chronic diseases.

Findings by U of A microbial ecologist Jens Walter and his colleagues suggest differences in our microbial makeup likely depend on when we acquire our first microorganisms after birth--and the order they arrive in our gut has a lasting impact on how the microbiome looks when we grow up.

The discovery sheds new light on how these microbiomes, which are as personal as fingerprints, establish themselves and what drives their unique nature. That's key to figuring out how to change our microbiomes for the better, said Walter.

"Each of us harbors a microbiome that is vastly distinct, even for identical twins. Microbiomes are important for our health, but they appear to be shaped by many unknown factors, so it's hugely important to understand why we are all different," he said.

Studies have already shown that a person's genetics, diet, environment, lifestyle and physiological state all make small contributions to the variation of the gut microbiome. But those factors account for less than 30 percent of the variation, noted Walter.

In the study, researchers introduced distinct microbial communities, collected one at a time, from adult mice into the gastrointestinal tracts of young, genetically identical mice. The results showed that the microbiome in the adults was more similar to the microbiome introduced first.

Even using a cocktail of four different bacteria, the researchers repeatedly found that the first microbes showed the highest level of persistence and the strongest influence on how the gut microbiome developed.

The discovery about timing brings scientists one step closer to understanding how microbiomes might become disrupted--for example, through cesarean section birth or antibiotic use--which is then more likely to predispose us to chronic diseases, and how to potentially address that.

Poor gut health has been linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, neurological disorders, autism, and allergies.

"If we know what drives specific microbiomes in specific people, we can have a much more rational approach to potentially altering the microbiome, and developing strategies to address those diseases," Walter said.

"Having long-term persistence of microbes when they colonize in the gut early in life means that a health-promoting biome could potentially be established by introducing beneficial bacteria straight after birth."

Baby formulas fortified with probiotics already do this to a degree, but knowing more about how probiotics affect other members of the gut's microbial community could take it to the next level, he said.

"We could be a lot more systematic. I think in 30 or 40 years we'll be able to colonize infants with specific bacteria we know are health-promoting and shape the microbiome in a beneficial way."

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions
Advertisement

Recommended Reading

More News on:

Shigellosis MRSA - The Super Bug Probiotics - Support System for the Gut Food Safety for Health Antibiotics Your Guide to a Good Gut Amazing Benefits of Gut Bacteria Leaky Gut Syndrome 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive