It has been said that we are as good as the company that we keep, and indeed from a Lilliputian point of view, our body keeps company with many different cells, and it is the balance of good-bad cells that moves us forward or backwards in the evolutionary ladder. We are composed of a collection of human cells and microbial cells, living on us and within us, intimately—in communication with our human cells. Our gut, like New York City, is a melting pot of cellular life, a vast milieu of expressed proteins, all with a specified function. Our health is reflected by the health of the microbiome, the inter-play pattern of the proteins, intermixing in the gut and throughout the body. Today we will look at the neonate, the most vulnerable amongst us.
Lets review an important aspect of our existence: we have previously learned that 60 tons of food passes through our gut in a lifetime! Due to the increasingly toxic nature of our environment, a rising amount of toxic and pathogenic materials goes through our gastrointestinal tract, and is in intimate contact with us. Our health is always a balance between the forces that support our survival and those that are programmed to destroy it. De-evolution is the result of the increased numbers of toxic materials: hormone disruptors, carcinogens, respiratory toxins, reproductive/developmental toxins, neurotoxins, iimmuno-toxins and unchecked pathogenes—materials and organisms that need to be nuturalized and inhibited with supportive and detoxifying live-cells inputs.
So it makes much sense to diligently bring into our gut the extra army we need to fight the good fight and balance the power on the side of our good survival.
At birth an infant’s intestine is initially colonized by complex flora that reflects maternal vaginal and large intestinal flora. Breast milk is the first source of bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which compete with pathogens. The mode of birth, surrounding environment, and dietary factors influence initial gut colonization in a neonate.
What can be more delicate that a pre-term baby? Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity for these very low weight newborns. NEC is a multifactor disease that results from an interaction between the loss of mucosal integrity (due to ischemia, inflammation and infection) and the host response to that injury (in the form of circulatory, inflammatory and immune-mediated response). The most common risk factors cited are colonization by bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Clostridium perfringes, Staphylococcal epidermis and Rotavirus. To save the newborn lives, a mix of Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifibobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus was given, resulting in reversal of condition and healthy growth. See Green Facts for details.
Other neonatal research clearly show that creating the right microbiome community can save lives, and bring about a healthy state. It is important to develop the correct microbiome population early on in life, and continue to guard the balance of the negative and positive organism living on us and within us.
Clinical Note: Therapeutic Foods Synbiotic Formulas for infants. Both the Original Synbiotic Formula and the Supernatant Synbiotic Formula have been used by our pediatric doctors – with great success. If the infant is not on solid food, simply putting a small amount of the power on your finger for the infant to suck will suffice! It is that easy to bring in the good bugs.
The Last Quiz Answer: The Remoras seen on the underbelly of this magnificent mother humpback whale is classified relationally as a commensal, not a symbiot. In a symbiotic relationship both organisms in the relationship benefit. In a commensal relationship one organism benefits and the other organism neither gains nor looses anything. In this commensal relationship the remora hitches a ride on the humpback, is protected from harm and gets tidbits of the food it needs for survival from the humpbacks feedings.
Man and remora enjoying an outing.
In the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics Moumita Samanta et al present an exciting study entitled, Prophylactic Probiotics for Prevention of Necrotizing enterocoltis in Very Low Birth weight Newborns. http://tropej.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/55/2/128