I always love a good science story…Did you read this one? The Bacteria Babies Need.
In short, an essential bacteria in the gut of babies is disappearing to the point of being endangered. The micro-bacteria, B. infantis, essentially is the muscle on the block; it keeps the bad guys out including pathogenic bacteria. It’s suspected that decreasing rates of breastfeeding and rising rates of cesarian sections and antibiotic use contribute to the disappearance of the bacteria.
Babies who do not have the bacteria grow up to be more likely to suffer from diabetes, allergies, and are more likely to be overweight. As of now, though, there isn’t anything that can be done to ensure that a baby gets the bacteria. Some countries are undertaking studies to introduce the bacteria into the guts of babies.
Why is this important? There is so much that we do not know about how our bodies function on a micro-bacterial, chromosomal, or cellular level. And, yet, out food systems are changing at a faster rate now than ever before. I am worried about how much fast food and processed foods we are eating and what that, and the decreased amounts of fiber, are doing to our guts, to our planet, and to the diversity of our foods.
As the author writes, “we’d also be wise to heed these findings on the microbiota as a harbinger of what’s to come. The promotion of infant formula in place of breast milk, and our reliance on processed foods into adulthood, have had some unforeseen and frightening repercussions for our health. The industrialization of our food supply is changing us from the inside out”.