Second Nature Care Blog

The Scoop on Pediatric Poop

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 31, 2017 6:21:59 AM / by Dr. Isadora Guggenheim

Preemies have different gut colonization

Before we get started - Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween. Don't eat too much candy and add in extra fiber to your protein shakes. My daughter loved Halloween because she made a fast 20 bucks when I bought back her candy. From Halloween through the Christmas Holidays, I see pediatric microbiome issues because sugar in increased in the diet and fiber is lowered. Sugar creates microbiome fermentation which in turn creates functional constipation, gas and bloating in children. Be conscious of this issue and yes a few sweets are ok, but the truth is that children are consuming large amounts of sugar at this time of year. I recommend Xymogen's Probiomax DF 350 stick packs in the morning in water or unsweetened plant milk, OptiFiber SCFA one scoop and GlutAloeMine 1/4 scoop. Cinnamon, avocado, chesnuts and beans stabilize blood sugar levels for hours and increase your fiber intake.

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Premature infants have a rough beginning because they are weeks earlier than the expected due date and most likely they came into the world via C-section. These infants are behind in their postnatal development of intestinal microflora.  How do we know this and what can we do abou . . . .

A recent study found that the pace of progression of the bacteria in the gut was "minimally influenced by environmental factors like mode of delivery, antibiotics or formula."  I disagree with these findings because there is clear evidence to suggest the contrary.  I am open to and interested in gaining insights into bacterial colonization patterns in infants and how colonization or lack thereof links to the development of serious disease patterns like necrotizing enterocolitis. Necrotizing enterocolitis causes tissue death in the lining of the intestinal wall and occurs in 10% of premature infants and is fatal in 25 to 35% of all cases.    

Researchers found that gestational age was the key factor in postnatal development of intestinal microflora in premature infants. That makes sense.

Remind me what the intestinal microbiome is and why it is important

The microbiome is made up of small single-celled organisms that work together to form complex bacterial communities in our gut. These bacterial cells outnumber the total number of human cells by 10 times. Bacterial cells per one gram of feces in the average human contains one trillion bacterial cells.  

We are more bacteria than human.This collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses and their DNA inhabits your body in your gut, skin, nasal and oral cavities and urogenital system.  The gastrointestinal system is an organ for digestion, absorption and immunity.  

Bacteria can be helpful or harmful to the host.  Our health is determined by the diversity of bacteria present. Bacteria in our gut have many functions: synthesis of vitamins, metabolizing nutrients, drug metabolism regulation, renewed gut skin cells, development and regulation of the immune system.  Diet, environment, transient microorganisms, age, gender, genetics, exercise, gut permeability and immune status all affect the gut bacteria.  

Did you know that leaky gut is linked to obesity? 

What causes preterm birth? It's micro-organisms that cause intra-uterine infections that can be sub-clinical with a few or no signs or symptoms.  Most of these microbes are resistant to be cultured like the mycoplasmas which need specialized identification techniques.  We check all patients for mycoplasmas with polymerase chain reaction methods.  

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We used to believe that the human fetus developed in a sterile uterine environment and that you got your first micro-organism exposure at birth.  When you slide through the vaginal canal the bacterial exposure is supposed to be representative of your mommy's vaginal microbes.  So when you are born via C-section you are colonized with bacteria from your mom's skin and whatever else is in the room.  Vaginal microbes are Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Sneathia versus C-section flora of Stapylococcus, Corynebacterium and Propionibacterium.  The differences are significant.  Infants born via C-section are colonized predominately with Staphylococcus bacteria and 64 to 82% of Staph infections in infants follow C-section birth. Vaginal birth is the only opportunity for exposure to the vaginal microbiome.  Survival of our species and our life force is dependent on this early colonization through the vagina.

Call your mom and thank her again for a great start if you were lucky enough to slide through the canal. Bonus points if you were breastfed.  Maybe Hallmark will come up with an intestinal microbiome thank you card complete with a sachet of probiotics inside.  

Both long and short term health conditions are linked to your intestinal microbiome.  Obesity, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, late onset autism, mood disorders and other conditions may first be established in infancy during microbiome development.  Premature infants have abnormal colonization. They have less bacterial diversity, are exposed to institutional pathogens and are routinely administered antibiotics.  This adds up to necrotizing enterocolitis.  

Everyone needs probiotics especially moms during pregnancy.  Everyone can benefit from GOOD GUT products.  

 

 

Topics: Child and Teen Health, The Scoop on Poop

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963 [email protected]