Historically, Bifidobacteria has dominated the baby's gut microbiome, working to keep many other strains of harmful bacteria from growing. However, modern medical practices such as antibiotic use and c-sections have led to many babies in the US no longer having this bacteria in their gut microbiome.
One such Bifidobacteria is B. infantis EVC001, a strain found in Evivo, a baby probiotic that is clinically proven to restore B. infantis in the baby's gut and push out the bad bacteria.
Evivo was developed by Evolve BioSystems, an independent microbiome research company that was launched out of University of California, Davis, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Director of Scientific Communications at Evolve BioSystems, Tracy Shafizadeh, joined the NutraCast to discuss all the factors that go into the microbiota establishment in infants.
“What is now becoming apparent is that early intervention of the infant gut really does dictate the trajectory that a baby will be on as they grow and develop into adulthood. Certain health outcomes are associated with the early colonization of the infant gut microbiome and what seems to be the case is that when pathogenic bacteria, or what we would consider bad bacteria, are present in high numbers early in an infant's life, it's associated with things like colic, eczema, diaper rash, even food allergies, obesity and finally type 1 diabetes later in life,” explained Shafizadeh.
Indeed, research has found vaginal birth to be associated with increased gut diversity and maturation during the first years of life. However, c-sections, antibiotic use and other factors negatively impact the infant gut microbiome.
Shafizadeh, a nutritional scientist, added that matching the right probiotic to the right person is absolutely crucial. “There are three main pieces to the puzzle that you really have to consider when making that choice. And the first is the right strain of bacteria. So again, make sure that the strain of bacteria that you are choosing has well-documented mechanisms of action. How it works in the gut, what population and what food source that bacteria needs. So for instance, if you put a probiotic bacteria in the gut of an infant, but that bacteria was really really good at digesting plant fibers, but the baby is consuming human milk, it's not going to be beneficial nor is it going to colonize the intestine,” noted Shafizadeh. “So you have to think about the strain of bacteria, the food that that bacteria needs—in this case B. infantis, which does really really well on human milk and infant formula—and then the right time during development.”
In the first 100 days of life, babies undergo a rapid period of immune and metabolic development. Shafizadeh said this time period is an incredible window of opportunity to either create a protective environment in the infant gut or allow pathogenic bacteria to thrive which can offset important programming of the immune system and metabolism.
“So let's think about the windows of opportunity of putting the right bacteria with the right food source in the right population during the appropriate time of development, and that's when we can really really see the benefits that probiotics can bring.”
NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.