Many different factors contribute to the development and changing of the gut microbiota throughout the lifecycle. We know that one of the earliest influences on the development of the microbiome is the method through which a child is born.
Research has shown that a caesarean-section delivery can drastically affect the microbiome of a newborn (1). Infants born by c-section had dramatically different microbiome profiles compared to infants born vaginally. These differences became less apparent over time as food and environment play more of a role in the development of the microbiome in early infancy; however, some differences persisted for months. For example, infants born by c-section had higher levels of bacteria that are commonly found in hospitals compared to vaginally born infants, even at 8 months of age.
Not only are infants born by c-section affected by the difference in microbiome exposure, but infants born after prenatal, prophylactic antibiotics demonstrated differences in their microbiome make up as well. Both infants born by c-section and those born vaginally after prenatal antibiotics were administered had a low abundance of Bacteroides bacteria. Interestingly, c-section delivery and prenatal antibiotics have also been shown to be linked to childhood allergies (2,3). While no evidence of causation or mechanism of action has been elucidated, the potential link between birth mode, microbiome, and childhood allergies is an interesting one which raises the question of whether early influences on the microbiome can have lasting effects.
Integrative Phenomics is seeking to better understand the development of the human microbiome, and how it can be impacted by change in diet and lifestyle. We believe that targeting the specific needs of your microbiome can be the answer to achieving weight loss success and decreasing long-term health risks.