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The gut microbiome: our partner in health

The microbiome is a community of over 100 trillion microbes that live in and on our bodies. About 95% of our microbiome are gut bacteria located in the gastrointestinal tract. This collection of microbes is as unique as our fingerprints, and they not only influence how our body responds to certain foods, but also our overall health and well-being.

The infant’s gut microbiota begins to develop at birth, via contact with the mother’s vaginal and intestinal microbiota, through skin contact and during breast-feeding. 1,2

After birth, the infant’s skin, oral cavity and respiratory tract come into direct contact with the external world, leading to continuous exposure to microorganisms.1 Many of these micro-organisms colonize the gut, and contribute towards a healthy and resilient immune system.3

Breast milk provides the best nutrition for a baby for many well established reasons. Amongst the many components of breast milk are oligosaccharides and probiotics, which help to establish a healthy gut and immune system4, both key to normal development.

Download our infographics for a simple overview to the microbiome and it’s role in infant health.

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  1. Wopereis H, Oozeer R, Knipping K, Belzer C, Knol J. The first thousand days – intestinal microbiology of early life: establishing a symbiosis. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2014;25(5):428-438
  2. Scholtens P, Oozeer R, Martin R, Amor K, Knol J. The early settlers: intestinal microbiology in early life. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2012;3:425-447. 
  3. Simon A, Hollander G, McMichael A. Evolution of the immune system in humans from infancy to old age. Proc Biol Sci. 2015;282(1821):20143085.
  4. Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am 2013;60:49-74.

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