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Maternal nutrition associated with infant's gut microbiome

Posted:  Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Optimal maternal nutrition for better infant gut microbiome

The gut microbiome plays a very crucial role in host immune enhancement, metabolism, and intestinal physiology. Recent research has stressed the importance of the gut microbiome in controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Thus, nutrient choices during the perinatal period influence long-term health aspects of the infant and the mother.

A study conducted by Mantrana et al. gives us an update on the nutritional recommendations during the perinatal period, and correlates the influence of the maternal microbiome and maternal nutrition with the development of infant’s gut microbiota.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mother's prenatal diet should consist of a daily supplementation of iron (30-60 mg) and folic acid (400 µg) to reduce the risk of low birth weight, maternal anemia, and iron deficiency. Also recommended are vitamin A and iodine supplementations, along with polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at a daily dose of a minimum of 200 mg. All of these recommendations are in addition to the adequate intake of macronutrients.

Along with maternal diet, maternal microbiota also influences the health status of the infant, as mother’s microbiota gets transferred to the infant during birth. A primate model has shown that high fat content in the maternal diet influences the neonatal intestinal microbiome. High body mass index during pre-pregnancy and excessive weight gain during pregnancy have an influence on the microbial composition of the maternal gut, which can influence the acquisition and development of the infant’s microbiota. Higher levels of Staphylococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, and Escherichia coli; and lower Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides were observed in the gut microbiome of overweight pregnant women compared to the gut microbiota of lean pregnant women.

The authors suggest that a balanced and healthy diet during the prenatal and postnatal periods are imperative for the optimal growth and development of a healthy microbiome in the infant.

News Source:García-Mantrana I, Bertua B, Martínez-Costa C, Collado MC. Perinatal nutrition: How to take care of the gut microbiota?. Clinical Nutrition Experimental. 2016 Apr 30;6:3-16.