The lack of diversity in the gut is a clear sign there are health problems looming, as we’ve seen in recent reports linked to obesity and heartburn drugs. Unfortunately, that reprogramming of human gut diversity may start much earlier, during the very early stages of childhood development before birth due to early exposure to antibiotics.
New research from Canadian scientists at the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy has discovered that the lack of gut diversity among babies as young as three months old, may be a warning sign about the early development of asthma or food allergies.
Gut diversity matters
Researchers examined data collected from 166 infants enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. This ambitious study is closely monitoring the health of more than 3,500 families and their newborn infants to provide more knowledge about the genetic and home environmental factors that trigger asthma and allergies.
Scientists used DNA techniques to classify the good bacteria in stool samples taken at three months and age one, then identified which bacteria were present when food allergies began to emerge later in life (based on a skin reaction test to foods).
Overall, only a dozen babies experienced sensitivities to foods. No surprise, infants with less diversity of specific types of gut bacteria—Enterobacteriaceae (too much) and Ruminococcaceae and Bacteroidaceae (not enough)—at three months were more likely to develop allergies to peanuts, eggs and other foods by the time they reached age one.
“It is something that one can measure which indicates increased risk of food sensitization by one year of age,” said Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and senior author of the study in a press release.
Scientists hope to expand the sample size as data comes from other Canadian cities to some 2,500 children across the country, tracking them as they grow up, then re-examining the findings again at ages three and five.
Protect your baby’s gut health
The good news: Protecting and improving the diversity of your baby’s gut health can be as safe and convenient as giving him/her a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior, made from four different strains of beneficial bacteria plus the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.
Each dose of Endomune Advanced Junior features 10 billion CFUs of good bacteria and contains no artificial colorings, dairy products, preservatives or sugar and is certified Kosher and gluten-free.