- Variety and health of your gut bacteria are associated with genetic expression and interaction with your immune system; when unsupported it may lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases
- Research links feeding infant formula to a change in gut bacteria with a proliferation of those more commonly found in older children and adults, increasing the infant’s risk of obesity
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data indicating 99 percent of children between ages 1 and 2 are eating 7 teaspoons of added sugar a day, even greater than the highest level thought to be safe for adults
- Breastfeeding has benefits for both child and mother, including supporting a child’s healthy gut microbiome, reduction in sudden infant death syndrome, improved cognitive development and, for the mother, reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease and postpartum depression
By Dr. Mercola
In recent years, science has come to realize your gut microbiome is a significant factor driving genetic expression and supporting your immune system. Your body has nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria living in it and on it, as well as millions of viruses. Each of these organisms perform a multitude of functions, and need to be properly balanced and cared for in order to maintain good health.1
Research has linked the variety and makeup of your gut microbiome to specific health benefits and health conditions, including the elimination of chemical toxins, mental health,2 obesity,3 Types 1 and 2 diabetes4 and brain diseases. The microbes in your gut may influence your immune response to a number of environmental pathogens as well as pharmaceutical drugs, including vaccinations.
One of the easiest ways to support or decimate your microbiome is through your diet. Research supports eating fermented foods5 and fiber6 to promote a healthy gut microbiome. Now, recent research has found an association between feeding infants formula and a change in gut microbiome that may lead to obesity.7
Food Has an Impact on Gut Bacteria
As you may have suspected, and research has confirmed, the food children eat impacts their gut microbiome and consequently their immune system and risk for obesity. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics8 looked at how bacteria in an infant’s digestive system affects the burning and storage of fat, and how the infant body uses energy.
Researchers gathered data from the Canadian Health Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, focusing on the first year for more than 1,000 infants at four different sites.9 Mothers reported the amount of breastfeeding, when formula was introduced and when solid food was introduced to the infant. Confounding factors such as gender, birth weight, antibiotics, maternal smoking and more, were included. Stool samples collected from the infants at 3 to 4 months and again at 12 months were tested for a variety of gut bacteria.