BIOLOGIQUES DE DENTITION
6 À 12 MOIS
BIOLOGIQUES À L’ARROW-ROOT
12 MOIS ET +
BIOLOGIQUES HUGGA BEAR
12 MOIS ET +
BIOLOGIQUES POUR BÉBÉ
4 MOIS ET +
The human body is host to trillions of bacteria (“microbes”) that live on our skin and in the gastrointestinal tract, mouth and eyes. They play an important role in our overall health. These bacteria are one part of a range of microorganisms that together form the microbiome, or microbiota.
The human digestive tract alone is estimated to contain 400 different species and subspecies of bacteria. We often think of bacteria as “bad” — or something that we need to eradicate with antibacterial wipes and antibiotics. While it is true that some bacteria are pathogenic and can stimulate infection, many bacteria are beneficial.
Ideally, in a healthy microbiome, a balance exists between all of the different types of bacteria — so the probiotic bacteria (“good” bacteria) can keep the others in check. The word “probiotic” literally translated means “for life.”
For a microbiome to thrive, we must “seed and feed” it. Probiotics are the live microorganisms that seed our gut, while prebiotics feed the good bacteria, helping it to establish and flourish. Created through fermentation, probiotics can be found in fermented foods like kefir, as well as in supplements. Prebiotics are fibers, which can be found in fibrous foods and supplements.
It was recently discovered that the womb — once thought to be a sterile environment — has its own microbiome, with detectible bacteria found in most (but not all) placenta and amniotic fluid studied. Therefore, a baby’s microbiome begins to develop before birth, although it is still immature at the time of birth. The most dramatic changes happen in the first year of life, with the first 6 months being a “critical window.” Full colonization of a child’s microbiome happens by about age 3.
“Apart from the obvious gift of life, the seeding of the baby’s microbiome is perhaps the second greatest ‘gift’ a mother can give her baby.”
—Toni Harman, filmmaker of Microbirthand author of Your Baby’s Microbiome
The infant microbiome is influenced by a number of factors, both in and out of our control, including:
A recent study discovered an increase in the pH of infant stools and a reduction in the Bifidobacterium strain of bacteria in the infant microbiome in the past century. The researchers say that this trend may have contributed to the increased incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases, although more studies are needed.
The question is — what can we do to make sure our baby’s microbiome is balanced? Researchers are looking for ways to prevent and restore the diversity and population of beneficial bacteria in the infant microbiome, and one area of study is the supplementation of probiotics and prebiotics.
Although more research is needed, there are some strains that may potentially be beneficial, with evidence that multi-strain probiotics could be more effective and more consistent with the microbiome than single-strain probiotics.
According to Hippocrates, considered the Father of Modern Medicine, “All disease begins in the gut.” It stands to reason that the delicate balance of bacteria in our digestive tract may affect our health. We are just scratching the surface in our understanding of the importance of a healthy microbiome — but thankfully, bacteria’s role in various areas of health and wellness is increasingly being examined in scientific studies. Hopefully, as new information comes to light, it can help us to understand how our microbiome impacts our metabolism, digestion, disease risk, weight, immunity, and mental and neurological health and development — and what to do to improve it.
About the Author: A nutritionist and the author of The Perfect Metabolism Plan, Sara Vance is a passionate advocate for natural approaches to health. She regularly offers cooking and group classes and has developed a series of online courses to empower people to use foods to balance their metabolism and overall health. As a mom and a specialist in childhood nutrition, Sara loves working with kids, speaking frequently at school assemblies and leading children’s workshops. Sara is a frequent guest on the Fox 5 San Diego show, CBS Los Angeles, KUSI and CW 6. She has contributed to Delicious Living, Mind Body Green and Refinery29. Sara has also filmed videos for eHow and created a Kids Yoga series for GaiamTV.
The content provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not recommended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical questions or concerns. See additional information.