Infancy

Probiotics – Good Summer Bugs!

Probiotics – Good Summer Bugs!

Although obesity remains one of our most pressing health problems today I’m hoping that for many Americans as the summer days unfold it may be an easier time to let go of some extra weight. In the heat, heavy foods just don’t seem quite as inviting as they were when it was cold outside. Moving around in humidity is much…

Mother’s Prenatal Stress Affects Infant’s Gut Bacteria

A number of studies have linked stress during pregnancy to premature birth and low birth weight, eczema, asthma, skin condition, and general illness as well as anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and impaired cognitive and psychomotor development.1 The reasons for these associations is not completely understood. Some researchers believe that gut microbes play a role. Intestinal microbes affect the development…

The Immune Effects of Breastfeeding vs Bottle Feeding

Early life events, such as mode of delivery at birth, antibiotic use, and diet, all play a big role in what bacteria develop in the intestinal tract, which, in turn, determines how healthy an individual will be. In a recent study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers from UC Davis and UC San Francisco compared breastfed and bottle-fed…

Antibacterial Compounds Pose Risk During Pregnancy—How to Avoid Them

We are a germ-fearing society. From antibacterial soaps, wipes, cleaners, and ointments to hand sanitizer and antimicrobial bedding, we are trying—literally—to wipe ourselves free of all the germs. What could all this sanitization be doing to our health, some researchers have asked? As it turns out, a lot. One compound in particular—triclosan—is found in many everyday items such as soaps,…

Gut Bacteria in Premature Infants Depends on Age

Not long ago, researchers thought that infants in the womb were free of bacteria. Infants are inoculated by bacteria during birth, and later by the environment and diet, they said, but not before birth. In 2005, that idea changed when bacteria was discovered inside the umbilical cord. Last spring, the idea was really put to death when researchers discovered that…

Low-Dose Antibiotics During Early Infancy Trigger Obesity Later in Life

Early life is a critical development period in many respects, and particularly as it relates to gut microbial composition. Even before birth, gut microbes are transferred from mother to fetus, a transfer that continues during birth and later via breast milk. Once established, gut microbes in the infant play a protective role on the infant’s health. A disturbance of gut…

Human Placenta Contains a Community of Microbes

The human microbiome is vast, accounting for 90 percent of our cells. Microbial composition varies from site to site across a range of niches in and on the body. Some niches—such as the colon—are colonized by a very high number of microbes. Other niches—such as the stomach—are colonized by lower amount of microbes. There are yet other areas of the…

Changes in Gut Microbes of Infants Greater than We Thought

It has generally been considered that an infant’s gut microbial composition resembles that of an adult by the age of about 12 months. Gut bacterial composition during the first year of life is in flux, with great variation seen between infants and even within the same infant over time. A recent study is changing how we view the early establishment…