Look, us mere mortals never really get to find out what is going on in the world of science. Well, not unless it’s (sometimes) sensationalised in the press. So, we wanted to bring you a snapshot of the latest science to whet your appetite to find out more if it’s something that piques your interest. Or, simply to keep you all in the “gut world” loop. Remember most of the studies are VERY new science, so keep your critical thinking cap on!
Our report is brought to you by our student research squad who have their ears to the lab floor ground to keep us all informed.
The study published by Nature took 7 years, looked at 1,679 babies and 175 mums. (Full article can be found here)
How a baby is born, and the environment are significant factors affecting the composition of the gut microbiota from birth throughout infancy. Those born by caesarean section had fewer types of certain bacteria. As well as high-level colonisation of pathogens associated with hospitals. Interestingly, by 6-9 months, the differences were less.
“The hypothesis is that the moment of birth might be a sort of “thermostat” moment. Which sets the immune system for future life,” says researcher Dr. Nigel Field from UCL.
This important study confirms that the way we give birth will alter our microbiome in the first year of life. Caesarean delivery results in fewer bacteria in the baby’s gut being like its mother’s.
“This is not known to be harmful and mothers who need a caesarean should not be alarmed. The further effects of this in long term health need to be evaluated.”, says professor of obstetrics at King’s College London, Andrew Shennan.
The good news is the gap between different birth methods gets narrower with age. We know that it isn’t just mode of birth that can shape you gut microbiota. Also, diet and lifestyle also plays a big part. We need more research over a longer period of time to really understand how this impacts us in later life, not just through infancy.