You’re concerned about your health because you know that at some point you’ll be pregnant and creating a baby is a big responsibility. Being healthy will also improve your fertility and being healthy is simply good for you!
If you’re already a mum, you know the benefits of being healthy and nothing can be worse than an ill child!
Because I know you have several questions about how to “be healthier”, I want to share with you this podcast interview: why having a healthy gut is critical to infant health. Here, Dr. Mark Hayman interviews Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh, who is a leading expert in infant microbiome about how to create a good microbiome for our children.
As I have previously shared in this newsletter, the gut microbiome is a critical organ of the human body. So, if your heart, liver, or pancreas don’t work, what do you think could happen? We would run into trouble. Well, the same principle applies when your gut microbiome doesn’t work!
When do we start building resilience and a good set of microbes? The process starts in our mums’ wombs but it continues throughout our lives as our gut bacteria changes due to the changes in our environment.
There are several factors when it comes to inheriting and developing good bacteria:
- Our mums’ bacteria
- Vaginal delivery
- Diet and lifestyle
Our society hasn’t focused enough on this issue, and parent’s poor diets, the overuse of antibiotics, glyphosate, and excessive toxicity in food and products have created the perfect storm to pass on poor bacteria to our children.
Scientists at the University of California found that a strain of bacteria called B. infantis, thought to have been the dominant bacterium in the infant’s gut for all of human history, is disappearing from the Western world. According to their research, this was probably caused by the rise in cesarean births, the overuse of antibiotics, and the use of infant formula in place of breast milk. (2)
They also found that breast milk contains an abundance of oligosaccharides, carbohydrates that babies are incapable of digesting. So, why does breast milk contain something our babies can’t digest? They realized that these carbohydrates weren’t feeding the baby — they were feeding B. Infantis, so our bacteria can grow healthy. Nature is amazing, isn’t it?
The proliferation of C-sections has also become problematic as babies don’t get exposed to our main source of bacteria which is stores in the vagina.
There is a condition called Newborn Gut Deficiency (NGD)(1) which is believed to be the cause of inflammation. This inflammation expresses in new babies as colic, diaper rash, fussiness, poor sleep, and eczema. Who would have thought this?!
So, what can you do to ensure that your baby is growing the best possible bacteria?
- Start by optimizing your health before you even get pregnant.
- If you can deliver vaginally do it – if you can’t, ask your doctor to expose your children to your vaginal bacteria.
- Allow your kids to play with dirt and animals. Allow them to absorb their good bacteria.
- Breastfeed if you can but if you can’t do it, speak to your pediatrician to find out what could be the best way to feed the B. Infantis in your baby’s gut.
- Avoid any source of processed foods, aim to get large amounts of dietary fiber present in fruits and vegetables, and consume organic produce whenever possible to avoid pesticides and toxicity that kill our good bacteria.
If you have any questions about how to improve your health, you can get in touch here.