As a part of the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study, researchers from Singapore, UK and Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland have found that infant gut bacterial makeup is influenced by external factors such as delivery mode and gestational duration. The study also found that infants with a mature gut bacteria profile at an early age had normal levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, while infants with less mature gut bacteria profiles tended to have lower levels of body fat at the age of 18 months, indicating that gut bacteria could be related to normal development and healthy weight gain.
The study published in mBio shows that most infants had acquired a microbiota profile high in Bifidobacterium and Collinsella by 6 months of age, but the time point of this acquisition was later in infants delivered by caesarean section and those born after a shorter duration of gestation. Independently of the delivery mode and gestation duration, infants who acquired a profile high in Bifidobacterium and Collinsella at a later age had lower adiposity/body fat at 18 months of age.
Dr Joanna Holbrook, Senior Principal Investigator at A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Clinical Scientists (SICS) said that epidemiological data has linked what happens to us very early in life with our health later in life. The mechanisms for this are not yet known. It is not known as to how do our bodies remember our earliest experiences in a way that impacts health issues like our weight. This work suggests that one of the mechanisms for the transmission of early life experience to later life health is the seeding of our gut microbiota. Interesting!
The original publication can be accessed here.