Breastfeeding promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut

Breastfeeding promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut

A number of studies have shown that breastfed babies grow slightly slower and are slightly slimmer than children who are fed with infant formula. Children who are breastfed also have a slightly lower incidence of obesity, allergies, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease later in life. According to a new study by the National Food Institute and the University of Copenhagen this may be due to the fact that breastfeeding promotes the development of beneficial bacteria in the baby's gut.

"We have become increasingly aware of how crucially important a healthy gut microbial population is for a well-functioning immune system. Babies are born without bacteria in the gut, and so it is interesting to identify the influence dietary factors have on gut microbiota development in children's first three years of life," research manager at the National Food Institute Tine Rask Licht says.

Gut microbes change in the first years of life

The study shows that there are significant changes in the intestinal bacterial composition from nine to 18 months following cessation of breastfeeding and other types of food being introduced. However, a child's gut microbiota continues to evolve right up to the age of three, as it becomes increasingly complex and also more stable.

"The results help to support the assumption that the gut microbiota is not - as previously thought - stable from the moment a child is a year old. According to our study important changes continue to occur right up to the age of three. This probably means that there is a 'window' during those early years, in which intestinal bacteria are more susceptible to external factors than what is seen in adults," Tine Rask Licht explains.

Strategies for the development of healthy gut flora

"The results from the study can be used to support initiatives that can be used to help children develop a type of , which is beneficial for the immune system and for the digestive system. This could for example be advice to mothers about breastfeeding or the development of new types of to promote the establishment of in the ," Tine Rask Licht says.

Explore further

Studies of gut flora in infants and toddlers could lead to better health

More information: The study has been described in a scientific article in Applied and Environmental Microbiology: Establishment of intestinal microbiota during early life: A longitudinal, explorative study of a large cohort of Danish infants:
Citation: Breastfeeding promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut (2014, May 7) retrieved 16 October 2019 from
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May 07, 2014
Babies that are not breastfed still develop gut bacteria, the most logical vector is via kissing on the lips by parents and close kin.

It is my understanding that this possibility has not previously been investigated.

May 07, 2014
The development of gut bacteria in other species is NOT logically linked to kissing. However, conserved molecular mechanisms link gut bacteria and glutamine in insects to ovarian cancer in humans. This logically links ecological variation and nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations for comparison to mutation-perturbed survival in species from microbes to man.


Once again, we see how population geneticists with their theories about mutations, natural selection, and evolution of the mammalian mother-infant bond have muddied the waters of biologically based cause and effect and retarded scientific progress in medical research.

See also: Nutrient--dependent / pheromone--controlled adaptive evolution: a model

May 08, 2014
The development of gut bacteria in birds is also NOT logically linked to kissing.
"...birds possess several unique life history traits, such as hatching from eggs, which may alter the interactions with and transmission of intestinal microbes compared to most mammals. This review covers the diversity of microbial taxa hosted by birds. It also discusses how avian microbial communities strongly influence nutrition, immune function, and processing of toxins in avian hosts, in manners similar to and different from mammalian systems."

Clearly, the transmission of microbes from conspecifics to their offspring helps to ensure the nutrient-dependent production of species-specific pheromones, which enable recognition of reproductively fit mates in species from microbes to man.

That's why other possibilities have not been investigated. Simply put, other possibilities make sense only to evolutionary theorists who don't understand biological facts.

May 08, 2014
We are not related to birds, they are not in our lineage. Nor are insects in our past.

The fact is you said nothing of how babies who are not breast fed gain their gut bacteria. They did not get it from birds of insects with ovarian cancer...

May 08, 2014
Not in our lineage? The fact that you said nothing about the differences between breast-fed babies and others also attests to your belief in theories about cause and effect, which incorporate mutations and natural selection and somehow result in species diversity.

In reality, conserved molecular mechanisms link species from microbes to man via nutrient-dependent pheromone controlled ecological adaptations. http://rspb.royal...abstract
"If we take the example of mammalian hosts and environmental microbes, the coevolutionary processes allowing the tolerance of such microbes by the host lead to a state of 'evolved'-dependence where the host immune system is now dependent on the presence of these microbes to be efficiently regulated [80]."

Replace "a state of 'evolved'-dependence" with "ecologically-adapted species diversity via nutrient-dependent DNA methylation" and join me in the 21st century -- when all lineages are connected.

May 08, 2014
A wide range of [nutrient-dependent] pheromone-stimulated sexual and reproductive behaviors in female mice depend on G protein G(alpha)o BMC Biology 2014, 12 :31 (2 May 2014) http://www.biomed...abstract

Models in biology: 'accurate descriptions of our pathetic thinking' BMC Biology 2014, 12 :29 (30 April 2014)
"Biology rests on physics. At the length scales and timescales relevant to biology, physicists have worked out the fundamental laws governing the behavior of matter."

Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems
(unpublished) Preprint at:
"...nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled changes are required for the thermodynamic regulation of intracellular signaling, which enables biophysically constrained nutrient-dependent protein folding..."

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