August 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm #3210
Breast is Best for Baby Bacteria
The human gastrointestinal tract is home to many species of bacteria, some of which play a critical role in nutrient absorption of digested food. In babies, gut flora not only aids digestion, but also provides immunity and protection from disease. Researchers recently report that the bacteria in the intestinal tract of infants drinking breast milk may have an added advantage over gut bacteria in babies fed formulathe formation of a protective lining of biofilm that protects a baby from pathogens.
Mounting evidence has shown that breast milk is best for a babys development both physiologically and immunologically. Some research supports the belief that infants drinking breast milk not only benefit early in life, but also later on as adults with a decreased risk of Type I diabetes and other illnesses.
Exactly how breast milk is best remains unclear, but researchers are coming closer to finding answers to this question. One route of investigation is looking at how that breast milk may confer immunity through immune system modulating agents found in breast milk such as cytokines and growth factors that act at the level of the gastrointestinal mucosa. Another route is the effect that micro flora (gut bacteria) plays on an infants health.
In an article to be published in the journal Current Nutrition & Food Science, researchers investigated whether choosing formula over breast milk for feeding an infant can affect strains of gut bacteria that have already been identified as being important to the health of a baby. To test the choice of infant feeding on bacteria, researchers collected samples of human breast milk, cow milk purchased at the market, and 3 brands of infant formula and incubated all samples with two strains of E. coli bacteria common in an infants GI tract.
What they discovered was that while all samples tested supported growth of the bacterial strains, only the samples of breast milk resulted in bacteria that naturally formed into biofilms. The bacteria grown in cow milk and in formula proliferated in separate, free-floating planktons (single-celled organisms) that did not aggregate into a biofilm that could possibly line an infants GI tract.
Biofilms are typically described as a defense mechanism for a strain of bacteria that find safety not only in numbers, but in community. Basically, a biofilm forms when single bacteria attach relatively near each other on a tissue surface and are able to communicate together to begin secreting biochemicals and forming a shared slime-like polysaccharide complex that covers the bacteria and protects them from viruses, competing bacteria and medications. Many diseases are attributed to the formation of biofilms by harmful bacteria such as endocarditis when a biofilm forms on heart valves. A common example of a biofilm is the film of plaque that covers teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease.
However, not all bacteria are harmful and therefore some biofilms may be beneficial to the host as well as the bacteria. In this case, the good bacteria in an infants gut may play an important role with protective biofilm formation in the gastrointestinal tract that prevents harmful pathogens from infecting or damaging the mucosa lining the infants gut.
According to a press release issued by Duke University Medical Center, “This study is the first we know of that examines the effects of infant nutrition on the way that bacteria grow, providing insight to the mechanisms underlying the benefits of breast feeding over formula feeding for newborns,” said William Parker, PhD, associate professor of surgery at Duke and senior author of the study. “Only breast milk appears to promote a healthy colonization of beneficial biofilms, and these insights suggest there may be potential approaches for developing substitutes that more closely mimic those benefits in cases where breast milk cannot be provided.”
While further research is needed to determine how infant formula can be fortified with healthy bacteria that can mimic breast milk, experts agree that breast is best for a baby and its bacteria.
“This study adds even more weight to an already large body of evidence that breast milk is the most nutritious way to feed a baby whenever possible,” said Gabriela M. Maradiaga Panayotti, M.D., co-director of the newborn nursery for Duke Children’s and Duke Primary Care. “We know that babies who receive breast milk have better outcomes in many ways, and mothers who breast feed also have improved health outcomes, including decreased risks of cancer. Whenever possible, promoting breast feeding is the absolute best option for mom and baby.”
YouTube Video What are bacterial biofilms? A six-minute montage
Source: Breast is Best for Baby Bacteria
August 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm #3211
For healthy guts, breast milk beats formula
Posted By On August 28, 2012
DUKE (US) Breast milk, but not infant formula, fosters growth of healthy bacteria in a babys intestinal tract, research shows.
This unique property may make mothers milk better than infant formula in protecting infants from infections and illnesses, according to a study published in the journal [SUP][/SUP].
This study is the first we know of that examines the effects of infant nutrition on the way that bacteria grow, providing insight to the mechanisms underlying the benefits of breast feeding over formula feeding for newborns, says William Parker, associate professor of surgery at Duke University and senior author of the study.
Only breast milk appears to promote a healthy colonization of beneficial biofilms, and these insights suggest there may be potential approaches for developing substitutes that more closely mimic those benefits in cases where breast milk cannot be provided, says Parker.
Straight from the Source
Earlier studies have shown that breast milk lowers the incidence of diarrhea, influenza, and respiratory infections during infancy, while protecting against the later development of allergies, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses.
As scientists have learned more about the role intestinal flora plays in health, they have gained appreciation for how an infants early diet can affect this beneficial microbial universe.
In their study, the Duke researchers grew bacteria in samples of infant formulas, cows milk, and breast milk. For the infant formula, the researchers used three brands each of popular milk- and soy-based products, and they purchased whole milk from the grocery store.
Breast milk was donated and processed to separate different components, including proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. They also tested a purified form of an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), which is abundant in breast milk and helps establish an infants immune system.
The infant formulas, the milk products and the SIgA were incubated with two strains of E. coli bacterianecessary early inhabitants of the gut that are helpful cousins to the dangerous organisms associated with food poisoning.
Within minutes, the bacteria began multiplying in all of the specimens, but there was an immediate difference in the way the bacteria grew. In the breast milk, bacteria stuck together to form biofilmsthin, adherent layers of bacteria that serve as a shield against pathogens and infections.
Bacteria in the infant formula and cows milk proliferated wildly, but it grew as individual organisms that did not aggregate to form a protective barrier. The bacteria in SIgA had mixed results, suggesting that this antibody by itself isnt enough to trigger the beneficial biofilm formation.
Knowing how breast milk conveys its benefits could help in the development of infant formulas that better mimic nature, Parker says. This could have a long-lasting effect on the health of infants who, for many reasons, may not get mothers milk.
Additional studies should explore why human whey has the clumping effect on the bacteria, and whether it has a similar effect on strains of bacteria other than E. coli, notes Parker.
This study adds even more weight to an already large body of evidence that breast milk is the most nutritious way to feed a baby whenever possible, says Gabriela M. Maradiaga Panayotti, M.D., co-director of the newborn nursery for Duke Childrens and Duke Primary Care. We know that babies who receive breast milk have better outcomes in many ways, and mothers who breast feed also have improved health outcomes, including decreased risks of cancer. Whenever possible, promoting breast feeding is the absolute best option for mom and baby.
The study was supported in part by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Human Whey Promotes Sessile Bacterial Growth, Whereas Alternative Sources of Infant Nutrition Promote Planktonic Growth
Duke University [SUP][/SUP]
[HR][/HR]Article printed from Futurity.org: Futurity.org
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