Impact of Poor Gut Health in Children
Professor Jack Gilbert, an award-winning microbiome scientist at the University of California San Diego and author, has stated, “Over the last 80 years and since the dawn of antibiotics, there has been a multi-generational loss of microbes that appear to be important for human health. They are passed from mother to child (during birth, via breast milk and skin contact throughout the generations), but at some point, in the last three or four generations, we lost some. We’re not entirely sure if the cause was our lifestyle, our diet, cleanliness in our homes or the use of antibiotics. We’re missing certain immune stimulants that people in the developing world have plenty of.”
Many children with special needs have disturbed intestinal function, with slow intestinal transit and abnormal bowel movements. There is an emerging body of evidence linking altered intestinal microbiota (microorganisms) with cognitive and behavioral issues in children. These children often have a lower abundance of specific beneficial bacteria and a higher abundance of less beneficial bacteria. There are important differences, such as the abundance of Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, E.coli and Lactobacillus between the microbiota of children with cognitive and behavioral issues and typically developing children.
An overabundance of particular gut bacteria may produce changes including toxin production, aberrations in fermentation processes/products and immunological and metabolic abnormalities. (4)
An unhealthy, or unbalanced, gut can contribute to ineffective digestion as well as a weak immune system, poor brain health, mood difficulties, and unhealthy sleep patterns.
It’s important for children to have the right types and ratios of good bacteria in their gut to support better gut health, and in turn, better overall health and abilities.