The Bacteria Babies Need

Artistic representation of bacteria. 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.  The disappearance of the bacteria is due to decreasing breastfeeding rates and rising cesarean rates and antibiotic use.

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, nothing 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? We know so little 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 worry about how much fast food and processed foods we are eating. What does this giant diet shift mean to our guts, our planet, and to the diversity of our foods.

A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Many of the fruits and vegetables are on heart-shaped dishes.

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”.

Discussion questions:

  • What does food diversity look like in your community?
  • What can you do to eat a variety of foods?

PS: Want to know what some cities and states are doing to combat this issue? Read more here.

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