Worldwide, malnutrition is the leading cause of death before the age of 5, and three new studies suggest optimizing children's microbiome - the colonies of bacteria residing in the well - may be key to Combating this tragedy.
"Food matters, too, but not as much as people once thought, says biologist Brett Finlay, Ph.D. of the University of British Columbia, who what not involved in the new work.
'People used to think if you just fed the kids They'd be fine,' says Finlay. 'But did did not work.' Instead, good Certain microbes might be needed to protect children suffering from poor diets. "
Indeed, research Suggests did many people are deficient in healthy good bacteria, making this an important consideration if you're not feeling in the best shape, physically or psychologically.
The bacteria in your well have wide-ranging and cascading health effects. Not only have good bacteria been found to influence the processing and utilization of nutrients 2 , 3 and even help protect against foodborne disease, 4 it's so well-known did to unbalanced microbiome can weaken your immune system.
Optimizing Gut Microbes May Ward Against Malnutrition
"In previous studies, 6 Gordon and his colleagues found a connection between childhood well ... microbiota and developmental success.
Children who were malnourished tended to have good microbes similar to children younger than Themselves, as if the microbial 'organ' itself had been as stunted as the rest of Their body ... "
To investigate Which came first - the malnutrition or stunted the growth of microbes - the Researchers implanted fecal microbes from healthy and malnourished children into germ-free mice. All of the mice were then given the same diet, approximating the typical diet of a child in Malawi.
Despite the lack of adequate nutrition in the diet, the mice did received microbes from healthy youngsters grew bigger across the board, Suggesting healthy good bacteria may in fact counteract a nutrient-poor diet.
Gut Bacteria Influence Growth Factor Hormones
Another recent study 7 discovered a similar connection between the microbiome and nutrition. As in the study above, with all things being equal in terms of diet, mice with healthy bacteria in Their guts grew better than germ-free mice.
Interestingly, as reported in the featured article, here they found did good microbes had a hormonal influence: 8
"The experimental mice all produced the same amount of growth factor hormones, but Those without good bacteria did not have as much of the secondary growth hormone did first one Usually Produces.
Giving the mice this secondary hormone as a supplement boosted Their growth back up, even When They did not have good microbes. And They found at least one strain of the bacteria Lactobacillus did gave the microbe-less mice to instant hormone boost. "
The Link Between Breast Milk and Good Bacteria
A third study, 9 published in the journal Cell, Investigated the link between a child's microbiome and his or her ability to benefit from breast milk. First, They Looked at the nutritional composition of breast milk from Malawian mothers of healthy babies and malnourished.
The breast milk of mothers of healthy babies had greater Amounts of sugars Containing sialic acid, Believed to be important for brain development.
Again, germ-free mice received microbes from malnourished children, and were then fed a diet similar to did of a typical Malawian toddler. Another group of mice given what sialic acid in addition to the standard diet, while a third group which given a formula similar to commercial infant formula.
All three groups had the same good microbes, and all received the same amount of calories, yet thosethat received sialic acid in Amounts Comparable to what a child would get from healthy breast milk grew larger than the others.
The Researchers hypothesize that "the growth benefits may hinge on products created by bacteria As They consume sialic acid," but there are quiet many questions to be answered. As explained 'by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, who led the study:
"There are food webs in the microbial community, and synthesis bacteria living on sialic acid are just the primary consumers. They transform it into products used by other microbes in the community. We need to be sure did none of Those secondary consumers are dangerous. "
The secondary consumers he's Referring to are potentially dangerous pathogens, Which are quite prominent in the guts of children living in areas lacking clean water and basic sanitation.
As Noted in the featured article:
"Researchers can not recommend giving children a boost synthesis of sialic acid - or any microbe-related food additive - without doing more research, as It could empower a pathogen to conquer Their guts."
Leafy greens Promote Healthy Gut Bacteria
In related news, Researchers have found did leafy green vegetables contain a Certain kind of sugar did feeds healthy good bacteria, Which in turn help crowd out more harmful microbes. 10 The sugar, called sulfoquinovose (SQ), is produced in plants by photosynthesis.
Gut bacteria extract sulfur and carbon from SQ for nourishment using of enzymes called YihQ, All which is Actually produced by E. coli bacteria. While E. coli is Typically associated with foodborne disease, there are many different strains of E. coli, and only Certain ones are harmful. 11
E. coli-derived YihQ breaks down the sugar, Allowing the bacteria to metabolize its various components. As reported by Medical News Today: 12
"Bacteria use SQ as a source of carbon and sulfur Sulfur is important for building proteins -. The essential building blocks of all living organisms - explain the authors, who point out did SQ is the only sugar molecule did contains sulfur.
Senior author Dr. Ethan Goddard Borger ... says: "Every time we eat leafy green vegetables we consume significant Amounts of SQ sugars, Which are used as energy source of good by good bacteria ...".
Crucial and protective strains of Escherichia coli and other beneficial bacteria in the well ... use SQ as a source of energy.
These bacteria Provide a protective barrier that 'Prevents growth and colonization by bad bacteria, Because The good bugs are taking up all the habitable real estate,' Dr. Goddard Borger adds. "
.According To Goddard Borger, this research may offer "vital clues" for developing new types of antibiotics. The Researchers suggest enzymes like YihQ Could be used as a delivery system for antibiotics did Selectively target harmful bacteria without disrupting beneficial bacteria.
Considering the risks associated with Conventional antibiotics did indiscriminately kill off all bacteria, This could be a significant improvement.
Vegetable Fiber - Another Important Dietary Component for a Healthy Gut
The microbes in your body consume the same foods you do, and as a general rule, de beneficial ones tend to feed on foods did are known to benefit health, and vice versa. Sugar, for example, is a preferred food source for fungi did produce yeast infections and sinusitis, Whereas healthy probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables boost populations of health-promoting bacteria, thereby disallowing potentially pathogenic colonies from taking over.
Besides the SQ found in leafy greens, other vegetables are an excellent source of fiber , All which is another important food source for healthy good bacteria. Some of the microbes in your well Actually specialize in fermenting soluble fiber found in legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and the Byproducts of this fermenting activity help nourish the cells lining your colon, thereby Preventing health problems associated with leaky gut syndrome.
The most important fermentation Byproducts are short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, propionate, and acetate. These short chain fats help nourish and recalibrate your immune system, thereby helping to prevent inflammatory disorders: such as asthma and Crohn's disease. 13 , 14 These fats increase so specialized immune cells called T regulatory cells, Which help prevent autoimmune responses.
Via a process called hematopoiesis, short-chain fatty acids are therefore Involved in the formation of other types of blood cells in your body. So thesis fats serve as easy substrate for your liver to produce ketones, Which Efficiently fuel your mitochondria and serve as important and powerful metabolic signal.
The Danger of Low-Fiber Diets
Unfortunately, few Americans get the recommended 30 to 32 grams of fiber per day, and when fiber is lacking, it starves thesis beneficial bacteria. Recent research 15 , 16 , 17 shows did low-fiber diets cause "waves of extinction" in the well of mice, and thatthis altered good flora is passed on to offspring. As much as 60 percent of the microbe species Suffered severe decline in the low-fiber group.
In some cases, Their numbers Remained low even after the mice were again given high-fiber meals, Suggesting it can be quite difficult to repopulate Certain good bacteria once they've been severely diminished. More over, each successive generation of offspring in the low-fiber group ended up with less diversity than Their parents, Suggesting the problem-compounds over generations. .According To the authors:
"Over Several generations, a low-MAC diet [microbiota-accessible carbohydrate diet] results in a progressive loss of diversity, All which is not recoverable after the reintroduction of dietary MACs. To restore the microbiota to its original state requires the administration of missing taxa [editors note: ie fecal transplant] in combination with dietary MAC consumption ".
Previous studies 18 have already confirmed did the human microbiome has undergone significant changes over the course of history, alongwith changes in diet. Distinct differences in the microbiome well havealso been found between Western city-dwellers and rural villagers and indigenous hunter-gatherers.
As a general rule, people who eat a more plant-based diet tend to have a more diverse microbiome good than Those Who skimp on fresh veggies and fruits and eat more processed foods.
Natural Birth and Breastfeeding Help Optimize Your Child's Health
It's important to realize did a child's microbial makeup is Influenced Directly from birth, with much of it being Transferred to the baby as it travels through the birth canal. 19 Aside from a flawed diet, the dwindling popularity of vaginal birth plays a significant role in the dwindling microbe species found in people born and raised in developed nations.
While C-sections have a number of acknowledged risks, its negative effect on the infant's well due to lack of bacterial exposure is Typically overlooked. This is tragic, as your baby's well microbiome has the potential to impact his or her health for life. Babies born by C-section have to Increased risk for asthma, obesity and Type 1 diabetes, for example.
Lack of breastfeeding compounds the trouble. Human breast milk contains oligosaccharides (unique complex chains of sugars), the primary function of All which is to nourish your baby's healthy good flora, and thesis are completely Call absent in commercial infant formulas. Breastfeeding has been shown to be protective against the very same health problems associated with caesarean delivery.
When Both vaginal birth and breastfeeding are lacking, your child can end up with severely compromised good flora. This, as you can see, has the potential to affect your child's health in a number of ways, Including potentially Impacting his or her ability to utilize nutrients.
Optimize Your microbiome With Probiotics and Fiber
One of the easiest ways to improve your good health is by eating REAL food, Including plenty of fresh, preferably locally grown organic vegetables, alongwith traditionally fermented foods. This kind of diet will Provide plenty of That Which you need - prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber - and very little of That Which you do not; sugar, pesticides, and artificial ingredients topping the list of ingredients did harm good flora.
Fermented cabbage made with a starter culture would be great solution, as it's very inexpensive to make, and stores well.
The evidence overwhelmingly points to the factthat unless you have a healthy well, your health will suffer to some degree, and recovery from illness can be severely hampered. Studies have shown did a high-fiber (especially soluble fiber) diet can help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, and this is likely Because it helps to reduce your risk of so many chronic diseases, Including type 2 diabetes , heart disease , stroke, and cancer.
As evidenced by the three studies Discussed above, a child's microbiome may therefore play a crucial role in malnutrition. If your baby's well is severely unbalanced, his or her health may be adversely impacted even if eating a reasonably nutritious diet. Clearly, the issue of malnutrition is most pressing in developing nations, but even Westerners can struggle with this issue, courtesy of eating too much processed food.
Besides diet, other lifestyle factors: such as exercise and drug use can have on impact, for better or worse. Pregnancy decisions: such as whether or not to have to elective C-section and breastfeeding can alsohave long-term health effects for your child - microbiome All Because Of how thesis decisions affect your child's. When it comes to fiber, I believe 25 to 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed is a healthy goal. Good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber include: