Breast Milk Engineers a Bebe’s Gut (& Gut Microbes)

To Breastfeed or Not. Know the reasons that this time between mother and bebe is crucial. Especially the beginning for the colostrum. This is a good article found in National Geographic. Tell me what you think.



Raising an infant is an act of ecosystem engineering. You’re not just caring for a baby, but an entire world.

Right from birth, babies are colonised by legions of microbes that set up shop in their guts, skin, and more. These are vital. They help the growing human to digest its food, and to keep harmful microbes away. They are so important that newborns temporarily suppress their own immune system to give their microbial partners a chance to establish themselves.

Mum helps too. Her vaginal secretions provide her child with a starter pack of microbes. And her breast milk contains special sugars that seem to selectively nourish the gut bacteria that infants need.

Now, Eric Rogier from the University of Kentucky has found a milk antibody called SIgA also helps to set up the right community of gut microbes. Without it, young mice face long-lasting consequences, including several signs of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).  This antibody sets up a healthier environment in an infant’s intestinal tract, so they’re better prepared to withstand environmental problems later in life,” says Charlotte Kaetzel, who led the study.

Although the team only looked at mice, Kaetzel notes that several studies have found that breastfed babies are less likely to develop IBD later in life. “We’re not talking about black and white: you’re protected if you’re breastfed and not protected if you aren’t,” she says. “But I’d certainly argue that there’s a clear benefit.”

“We now recognize more and more that factors in breast milk influence the gut microbiota, which in turn sets up the immune system to have fewer chronic illnesses later in life,” says Allan Walker from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Read the whole article HERE

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply