The Importance of the First 1000 Days of Life on Microbiota Development

Written by
Dr Fathalla Ali, PHD Paediatrics

9/9/2020​

Scientific evidence confirms that the early period of human life that begins at conception and continue until 24 months of life (also called the first 1000 days of life ) plays a vital role for promoting the development of chronic diseases throughout the entire life span, indicating the important impact of maternal health status on the health of future child. The microbiome is one of the key elements that play a pivotal role during the first 1000 days of life. The emerging evidence suggests that microbial colonization starts prior to birth and is shaped by the maternal microbiota. Therefore, it is likely that the colonization process is initiated in utero. Subsequent to birth, this complex colonization process is then further influenced by host genetics as well as internal factors such as gestational age and external factors such as type of feeding (breast milk versus formula), mode of delivery (caesarean versus vaginal) and antibiotic exposure.

The A.MA.MI project is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study conducted on a group of mother-infant pairs attending the Neonatal Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia (Italy) to investigate the possible correlation between several factors, from conception to the first year of life, and infant gut microbiome composition.

  • Result from this observational study found that mode of delivery is one of the most important determinants of early gut microbiota colonization.
  • Babies born by Cesarean Section (CS) developed microbiota that have higher capacity to harvest food energy, consequently making them at increased risk to develop childhood obesity.
  • Results also showed that, type of feeding is another major determinant factor for early microbiota development in newborn babies. A substantial difference in gut microbiota colonization was observed between breast fed and formula fed infants.
  • Breast fed babies were colonized with bacterial species involved in human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) metabolism in breastfed infants. These HOM were found to strengthen the immune system and an protect against allergic diseases and may also offer protection from chronic disease such as type-2 diabetes and obesity.

Keywords: first 1000 days of life, microbiota, conception, microbiome, human milk oligosaccharide (HOM), cesarean section, vaginal delivery

Reference:

Raspini, B., Porri, D., De Giuseppe, R., Chieppa, M., Liso, M., Cerbo, R. M., Civardi, E., Garofoli, F., Monti, M. C., Vacca, M., De Angelis, M., & Cena, H. (2020). Prenatal and postnatal determinants in shaping offspring’s microbiome in the first 1000 days: study protocol and preliminary results at one month of life. Italian journal of pediatrics, 46(1), 45. Click here.

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