Breast milk and baby’s gut bacteria both essential for healthy growth and development

Breast milk and baby’s gut bacteria both essential from healthy growth and development

Jeffrey Gordon and his team at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that components of breast milk promote baby’s growth but not without involvement from gut bacteria (Feb 18th, Cell)

After studying African children with normal or stunted growth patterns, researchers concluded that sugars from breast milk containing sialic acid, were essential for brain development and growth.

Taking the gut bacteria from stunted African babies and implanting them into mice, the scientists then fed the animals sialylated sugars. Substantial growth improvement occurred. However this growth also depends on the types of bacteria present in the gut.

What they found next was that two strains of bacteria needed to be present, but that there was also a complex interaction between a number of bacteria in the microbiome.

The bottom line, as if we didn’t know, is ‘Keep your baby well away from antibiotics and drugs and breast feed them, if you want them to grow properly and have a fully developed brain.’