The First 1000 Days – Nutrients for Baby Gut Development
Human physiology has been constantly studied throughout history, with specific systems and organs focussed upon at different stages. With recent technological advances and improved medical understanding, digestive system health and the role of “good bacteria” in keeping the body healthy has become a topic of interest among research groups [1-2]. Moreover, the connection between gut bacterial populations and disease causation has been of particular interest, as evidence continually emerges that gut bacterial disturbances are likely to be linked to inflammatory bowel disease, and may also contribute to cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and even neurological disorders [1-3].
Baby gut health
While the links between the health of the gut and the development of disease are still being investigated fully, research has shown that optimal maternal nutrition in the first 1000 days of life may aid in maintaining gut-bacterial balance in children [4-8]. Balanced intake of nutrients such as vitamin D, as well as maintaining a healthy weight, may help protect the infant digestive system from future complications [4-8].
Important Nutrients for Baby Gut Development
The importance of balanced vitamin intake in maintaining optimal health can never been understated. Vitamins tend to influence most processes within the body, and digestive health is no exception. Table 1 below summarises the role of maternal vitamin D intake in infant digestive health.
Table 1: Summary of vitamins for baby gut development.
|Calciferol (D)||Maintenance of appropriate maternal vitamin D levels can influence composition of infant gut bacteria; this may positively influence infant management of viral respiratory infections.||[4, 5]|
Maintenance of healthy maternal weight
Despite the lack of a complete understanding of why such a phenomenon occurs, investigations have uncovered links between the weight or BMI of a mother, and the gut bacterial composition in their child [6-8]. The consensus is that overweight or obese mothers tend to give birth to children whose gut bacteria differ significantly to that which is expected. While this change in gut microbiota has not been conclusively linked to any causative negative effects, it is likely that an imbalanced digestive environment plays some part in negative digestive health outcomes.
|Balanced gut bacterial composition||Vitamin D|
|Maintenance of healthy weight|
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- Mueller et al. Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 1;6:23133.