Mother’s diet has an ef­fect on mi­cro­biome in her baby’s gut

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES -

CON­SUM­ING a high-fat diet dur­ing preg­nancy can in­flu­ence the com­mu­nity of mi­crobes liv­ing in a baby’s gut, ac­cord­ing to new re­search pub­lished in the re­cent is­sue of the Genome Medicine jour­nal.

The team of re­searchers from Bay­lor Col­lege of Medicine in the US had pre­vi­ously stud­ied the ef­fect of con­sum­ing a high-fat in preg­nant pri­mates. For this new study, the re­searchers re­cruited 157 preg­nant women to see what would be the ef­fect on hu­mans.

The par­tic­i­pants an­swered a de­tailed di­etary ques­tion­naire to iden­tify what type of diet they con­sumed dur­ing their preg­nancy, with the in­for­ma­tion then used to es­ti­mate how much sugar, fat and fi­bre mothers con­sumed dur­ing the lat­ter part of the third trimester.

The re­sults showed that the di­ets ranged from 14% to 55% fat, with the av­er­age diet con­sist­ing of 33% fat.

The In­sti­tute of Medicine rec­om­mends a daily in­take of fat be­tween 20% and 35%.

From this data, the re­searchers the di­vided the mothers whose fat in­take was sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from the 33% av­er­age into two groups: the con­trol group and the high-fat group.

Once the women’s ba­bies were born, the re­searchers could then an­a­lyse their first stool sam­ple to as­sess the type of gut bac­te­ria present at birth. Stools were then an­a­lysed again when the ba­bies reached four to six weeks.

The team found that the ba­bies of mothers who con­sumed a high-fat diet dur­ing the lat­ter part of the third trimester had a gut mi­cro­biome that was dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from that of ba­bies whose mothers were in the non-high-fat diet con­trol group.

In ad­di­tion, the ba­bies of the mothers who ate a high-fat diet had fewer num­bers of Bac­teroides mi­crobes, both at birth and at four- to-six weeks of age.

This could be of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance as a con­sis­tently lower level of Bac­teroides in the gut could af­fect the abil­ity to ex­tract en­ergy from food and the devel­op­ment of the im­mune sys­tem.

Al­though the study had a few lim­i­ta­tions, in­clud­ing its use of sel­f­re­ported data which can be sub­ject to in­ac­cu­ra­cies, the team con­cluded that the study did show a re­la­ton­ship be­tween a mother’s diet and the mi­cro­biome in her baby’s gut.

How­ever, fur­ther stud­ies are needed to asses how long-term these ef­fects are.

Se­nior author Dr Kjer­sti Aa­gaard also be­lieves the re­sults could pro­vide fur­ther diet ad­vice for preg­nant women.

Aa­gaard said that “diet is very amenable to change and women are highly mo­ti­vated to make healthy changes dur­ing preg­nancy”.

She added: “Tra­di­tion­ally, di­etary in­ter­ven­tions dur­ing preg­nancy have fo­cused on mi­cronu­tri­ents, such as iron and folic acid.

“We spec­u­late that there may be a sound ar­gu­ment to also dis­cuss and es­ti­mate fat in­take.” – AFPRe­laxnews

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