Researchers from the New York University discovered that formula feeding, antibiotics, and cesarean birth modify the baby’s microbiome and may harm the baby’s growth.
The mentioned factors are linked to development impairments and a decrement in baby’s microbes during the first year of their life.
The microbiome is the combination of different bacteria that live on the skin and guts. The microorganisms are part of metabolism, digestion, and immunity.
The increasing popularity of C-sections, formula feeding and antibiotics may be connected with the augmentation in the number of autoimmune diseases, obesity, and asthma.
The matter is not new to scientists. However, the study shows a direct connection between microbial differences and health risks.
When monitoring 43 children from New York, researchers discovered that the feeding method is linked to changes in the gut microbiomes.
More than 1,000 stool samples were taken each month from 19 babies that were born by cesarean and 24 by natural delivery. Then, scientists analyzed the bacterial DNA in order to identify the microbiome for each baby.
The children were closely monitored for two years in order to follow up on the effects of antibiotics and formula feeding.
The results showed that babies born by C-section had an increase in bacteria diversity during the first weeks of life, but in two years time, their microbiome was less diverse than that of children born naturally.
The same effect was observed with babies that used antibiotics. Likewise, children that were formula fed had lower microbiome diversity when compared with breastfed children.
The study highlights that the different ways children obtained their initial microbiomes combined with other factors that changed the balance of the species. The result was that not only children had different bacterial profiles, but also they were more inclined to have a particular type of dominant bacteria.
The effects of C-sections and formula feeding lasted much longer than those of antibiotic use.
Another objective of the study was the development of microbes. Microbiomes have a particular development as years pass by, determined for example by the change to solid food diet.
In this case, the results showed that children fed with formula, C-section babies and those who used antibiotics had a slower maturation of their microbiomes than those who were breastfed, had natural births and did not take antibiotics.
Another study that was conducted by Finnish researchers showed similar adverse effects of C-section and antibiotic use on the microbiomes of 39 babies.
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