Friday, February 1, 2013

The good guys that grow in your breastmilk

Just found reference to a very exciting study published last month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The question is how did I miss it given my passion for the gut...but I digress. 

Anyway, Spanish researchers have identified more than 700 types of bacteria in breast milk. What is equally exciting, although hardly surprising given what I’ve written about in most recent books and ad nauseam in this blog, is this ... The bacterial composition of the breastmilk changes as the baby grows and an overweight woman has a much less diverse composition of gut bacteria that potentially predisposes her child to weight management issues as well. The study also confirmed that the breastmilk of women who give birth vaginally, or have an emergency C-sec (which means they have actually laboured) differs significantly from the breastmilk of women who had an elective C-sec, whose babies missed out on acquiring bacteria on their journey down the birth canal, or whose hormones did not influence the gut bacteria appropriately, the researchers suggest. All of these facts are worth thinking hard about - and thinking hard means taking action. Action involves preconception and pregnancy probiotics, prolonged breastfeeding, normal vaginal birth and if you and your baby missed out on any/all of the above, then that high potency probiotic can act as a surrogate! Establishment of healthy, diverse gut microbiota is the most fundamental health-promotion measure you can take for your whole family's health! 

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