What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that help support gastrointestinal health and promote favourable microbiota.
What is the microbiota?
The human body naturally inhabits trillions of microorganisms from our gastrointestinal tract to our mouth, nose and even our skin. The entire collection of these microorganisms is the human microbiota, which we now know today to play a vital role in our health and wellbeing.
Importance of the first 1000 days.
Our microbiota begins to develop when we are still in the womb and is affected by many factors such as gestation, delivery mode, type of feeding and early-life. With the introduction of new environments, food, and skin-to-skin contact the development of the microbiota forms rapidly from birth and continues to grow and gradually change with us, maturing later in life.
It is during the colonization of your baby’s gut and these early life stages in childhood that set the foundation for a healthy microbiota and influence gut maturation, metabolic, immune and brain development, contributing to long-term health. Bifidobacterium are the dominant bacterial group in the digestive tract of healthy infants and progressively decrease with age, as microbiota diversity increases.
The microbiota & FGIDs in Infants
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are very common, affecting 1 in 3 babies in their first weeks of life. They are a group of persistent and recurring gastrointestinal symptoms that do not seem to have a direct cause. Some common FGIDs include infant colic, regurgitation, and functional constipation.
The cause of infant colic is still not fully understood, however several studies show that colicky babies have an altered gut microbiota with higher levels of pro-inflammatory bacteria and lower counts of good bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium. Due to the relevant role of gut microbiota and the imbalance of good bacteria seen in colicky babies, many health experts have looked at the benefits of probiotics.
The microbiota in children
Early childhood continues to be an essential time for the development of the gut microbiota, which is also home to 70% of our immune system! The number and diversity of bacteria increases until the age of three, when it then begins to stabilize. There are many factors that can imbalance children’s gut microbiota including diet, environment, antibiotics and medications which can lead to occasional digestive upset, functional constipation and impact overall wellness.
You can positively influence a healthy microbiota
One way to support your little one’s healthy microbiota is the use of probiotics by supplementing the microbiota with friendly bacteria.