Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Blog

Breast Milk, “Good Bacteria” and Immune Health

SO interesting. From “In Defense of Food” – by Michael Pollen…

Why is Mothers Milk so healthy for the baby?  Not only does the composition of the milk change from week to week to best suit the needs of the baby, we have known that breastfed babies have better immune function and protection in later life than bottle fed babies.

In this clip, the researchers discovered that 1/3 of the content of the breast milk was oligosaccharides, which the baby itself can’t digest.  Why would breast milk have something in it that the baby could not even digest?  They wondered if the oligosaccharides might be food for bacteria.

At first they could not find any bacteria that the oligosaccharides fed.  Then they found it was the perfect food for the main “good” gut bacteria, Bifidobacterium, found in great amounts in the guts of breastfed babies!  Bifidobacterium attaches to the lining of the intestine (gut),  strengthens the immune system, and protects against other bacteria! 


The Gut Microbiome and Health

The Human Microbiome Project has shown that the intestinal microbiome has communication networks with other organ systems including the gut-brain, gut-liver, gut-adipose axes, and it plays a critical role in our health, brain function, body weight and fat maintenance. Nature, 2012.

Looking to Get Healthy? Focus on the Gut!

New Years Resolutions nearly always include a goal of weight loss. And this year will be no different in that sense. What is different in the last few years is that we now know that weight loss is not just calories in = calories out anymore!