Synbiotic baby formula supports healthy gut development in C-section born babies with compromised microbiome

A new study published in BMC Microbiology demonstrates that a synbiotic formula containing both pre- and probiotics can restore a compromised microbiome in babies that were delivered via C-section. Results indicate that this formula helps to prevent the development of a compromised gut microbiome associated with C-section birth.

At birth mothers pass on a rich flora of tiny microbes onto a baby. These microbes form a baby’s microbiome that lays the foundation for a newborn’s life-long health and is further nurtured when a mom breastfeeds a new-born. The oligosaccharides or sugars in breastmilk help to nourish the good bacteria in a baby’s gut, supporting healthy development of the gut and immune system.

It is becoming better understood that C-section born babies have a disturbed gut microbiome because they miss out on the good bacteria passed on through the birth canal. This can lead to an unbalanced microbiome when there are more of the potentially harmful bacterial species and fewer of the good bacteria. A baby with a compromised gut microbiome in early life has a greater risk for childhood infections and non-communicable diseases later in life.

Further analyses of the results of the JULIUS study investigate if and how a baby formula with a blend of synbiotics can help re-balance the gut microbiome of a C-section born baby so it’s closer to that of vaginally-born and breastfed infants. As part of the study that was carried out in Singapore, Thailand and Europe, baby poop samples were collected and analyzed over a period of 22 weeks.

"When a baby is born via C-section, the colonization of the gut with good bacteria is delayed because the baby doesn’t pass through the birth canal. With this study, we demonstrate that a baby formula containing synbiotics can help to restore the delayed colonization by the good bacteria, hence helping to bring a baby’s gut microbiome closer to that of vaginally born and breastfed babies."

Lead researcher dr. Christophe Lay, Danone Nutricia Research

The researchers hypothesize this is due to the acidic environment and oxygen levels in the gut. A healthy gut could be associated with an acidic gut environment, free of oxygen which is a favorable environment for good bacteria and less appealing for potentially harmful bacteria.

This study adds to the body of evidence underlining tailored nutritional solutions containing synbiotics support healthy immune system development and adequate immune responses by stimulating growth and activity of the good bacteria in a baby’s gut whilst suppressing the growth of bad bacteria.

Breast milk is the best possible nutrition for all infants. It provides the optimal nutritional balance for each individual infant, being specifically adapted and uniquely formulated to fully support their growth and development needs. We support World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods for two years and beyond.

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