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Wpg Free Press: Study looks to get to bottom of breastfeeding benefits

June 5, 2018 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports: 

The poop from hundreds of eight-year-old Manitobans is being tested to find out how the bacteria in their gut affects their health, and if being breastfed as babies has a lasting impact….

“Breastfeeding is one of the most influential factors in shaping the infant gut microbiome” — the community of micro-organisms or bacteria that live in the human digestive tract — says co-author Meghan Azad, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

It was one of the largest infant-microbiome studies in the world, identifying more than 900 types of bacteria from 2.6-million DNA sequences generated from more than 1,000 infants, researchers said in a news release.

They found breastfed infants supplemented with formula were at increased risk for becoming overweight at one year of age, and had a different microbiota composition than exclusively breastfed infants. Whereas breastfed infants supplemented with complementary foods only and no formula were similar to exclusively breastfed infants with no increased risk. An infant’s gut microbiome was different in formula-fed babies, said Azad….

“We know know how important it is in setting the stage in life for a healthy trajectory,” said Azad, research chair in developmental origins of chronic disease at the University of Manitoba. “We’ve come to appreciate how important microbiome is.”

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