Studies have shown that environmental microbes start colonization of the sterile gastrointestinal tract of the newborn immediately after birth. Initially microbes come from the mother, if the baby is born vaginally, and are of the same origin as her vaginal and intestinal microbes.
Infants born by Cesarean section (C-section) experience delayed microbial colonization. C-section babies acquire bacterial members resembling those of the skin. These variations and altered microbial diversity associated with delivery mode have been detected in children up to seven years of age. Studies suggest that children born by C-section are at increased risk for the development of immune disorders from somewhat impaired immune regulation. Not all autoimmune conditions, but especially those with a certain relation to the gut, are influenced by C-section.
Scientists theorize that the infant’s first contact with pioneer bacteria could influence subsequent gut maturation, metabolic and immunologic programming, and consequently, short- and long-term health status. A number of maternal factors are responsible for the establishment and colonization of gut microbiota in infants:
- The conditions surrounding the prenatal period
- Time and mode of delivery
- Mothers age
- Smoking status
- Househould milieu
- Socio economic status
- Enviromental factors
Early exposure impacting the intestinal microbiota is associated with the development of childhood diseases that may persist into adulthood—such as asthma, allergic disorders (atopic dermatitis or itchy skin, rhinitis or runny nose), chronic immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, blood sugar irregularity, obesity and eczema.
How Does Your Gut Microbes Help You?
The maturation of the human immune system and its regulation after birth is largely driven by exposure to microbes. The gastrointestinal tract is the largest source of microbial exposure, as the human gut microbiome contains more than 10 trillion bacteria, which is 10 times the number of cells in the human body. In recent years, several studies have shown differences in the composition of the gut microbiota in children exposed to different conditions before, during, and early after birth.
The gut bacteria play an important role in human health by promoting intestinal homeostasis, stimulating the development and maturation of the immune system, protecting against pathogens, digesting fibrous food materials through fermentation, and harvesting nutrients. An alteration in the gut microbiota has been associated with a number of complications, including:
- Inflammation of the bowel
- Leaky gut
- Bowel disorders
- Blood sugar regulation
- Respiratory difficulties
Although there are discrepancies in the literature, data analysis over time has suggested an association between the nature of the initial gut microbiota colonization or microbial dysbiosis (colonization by bad bacteria) and a number of disease conditions in infancy and later in life.
Until more studies are done in this new area of microbiology, scientists debate whether an altered microbiome causes particular health issues or alternatively, the health issue affects the microbiome. Numerous factors can affect both. This is an exciting area of science with so much being discovered and to learn.
Meanwhile, like our ancestors from many cultures, we take in microbes in the form of fermented vegetables (pickles, kimchee, sauerkraut) and fermented milk and soy products (cheese, yogurt, tofu, miso). Before industrialization and pasteurization, many of these fermented vegetable products were healthy sources of microbiota to inhabit our microbiome.
How to Improve your Gut Micobiota
No matter how we originated (via regular delivery or C-section), we can help ensure that our gastrointestinal tracts stay healthy. We can eat naturally fermented foods and maintain healthy lifestyles. Realistically in today’s environment, we all need help to keep a balanced diet. DIGESTIVE+++ provides an effective and convenient solution.
DIGESTIVE+++ contains probiotics, described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as microbes that show health benefits when consumed. As stated by the same organization, prebiotics are ingredients that remain undigested until they reach the colon and then provide the right nutrition for beneficial microbes in the colon.
DIGESTIVE+++ contains effective microbes and true prebiotics, as well as the full range of enzymes to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats for optimal assimilation and absorption. Some of the bacteria in the gut also use food nutrients to grow and colonize in harmony with the body. Our gut microbiome works in harmony or disharmony with our body and affect so many physiological systems, and taking DIGESTIVE+++ is the sensible and cost-effective way to maintain GI and overall health.