The preterm gut microbiome
The importance of supporting the gut microbiota for positive health outcomes in preterm infants1-5
Infants who are born prematurely often face multiple health concerns, including poor feed tolerance, reduced gut barrier function and increased risk of infection.1–3 The gut microbiota in these infants is considered to be important for protection against harmful microorganisms and for the maturation of the immune system.4 Increasing evidence suggests that promoting a healthy microbiota is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes in preterm infants.2,5
The benefits of breast milk on the microbiota
Breast milk is universally recognised as promoting the best health outcomes in both preterm and term infants by providing a unique combination of nutrients and immune-protective factors.6 One of the many important benefits of breast milk is the promotion of a healthy gut microbiota, which is in part attributed to the presence of prebiotic oligosaccharides (OS), which support gut intestinal flora development (figure 1).4
- Calkins KL, et al. Clin Perinatol 2014;41(2):331–345.
- Groer MW, et al. Microbiome 2014;2:(38):1-8.
- Neu J. World Rev Nutr Diet 2014;110:253–263.
- Harmsen HJM et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2000;30(1):61–7.
- Boehm G et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2002;86:F178–F181.
- Knol J et al. Acta Paediatrica. 2005;94(Suppl 449):31–33.
- Mihatsch W et al. Acta Paediatr. 2006;95:843–848.
- Modi N et al. Pediatr Res. 2010;68:440–445.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breastfeeding is best. Foods for special medical purposes should only be used under medical supervision.
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