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Researchers from the University of Calgary have shown that probiotic supplements can help form a healthy gut microbiome in the youngest babies born without a fully formed gut microbiome. The study found that a specific blend (five types) of probiotic supplements accelerated microbiome maturation to a term-like condition and reduced intestinal inflammation in very premature infants.

“These are the smallest premature babies spending the first months of his life in neonatal intensive care“, Says Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta, Ph.D., an associate professor at Cumming Medical School (CSM) and one of the study’s lead researchers. “The results show that daily probiotics the supplement, which contains the right type of microbes, caused a rapid transition of the gut microbiome to what is commonly seen in healthy breastfed babies born prematurely. This mature microbiome is more stable, more stable and has been linked to reduced inflammation in infants ’gut”.

A randomized clinical trial conducted at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Foothills Medical Center included infants born at less than 29 weeks gestation and weighing less than one kilogram at birth. Although probiotics are often recommended for moderately preterm infants to prevent severe gastrointestinal inflammation and sepsis, there is insufficient evidence to recommend probiotics to very preterm infants, even if this group is most at risk for these diseases. Given that the gut microbiome contributes to these diseases, the researchers wanted to know if probiotic supplements affect the development of the gut microbiome. A fully developed gut microbiome is essential for the body immune protection.

“The gut microbiome is a complex community that contains various types of microorganisms that contribute to important aspects of the immune system, including fighting pathogens and preventing immune diseases such as asthma and type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Jumana Samara. doctor of medical sciences, neonatologist at FMC and the first author of this study. “We found that the bifidobacterial strains in the probiotic supplement acted as an ecosystem engineer, promoting microbiome growth, species linkages, and microbiome stability. It also got worse inflammation of the intestines».

When babies are born very prematurely, they experience many factors that affect the development of the microbiome, such as the almost ubiquitous introduction of life-saving antibiotics, which are known to alter the microbiome. Their immature microbiome looks very different than that of a baby born prematurely, with very few bifidobacteria needed for a healthy baby microbiome. Their immature intestinal microbiome also has a large number of potential pathogens that can cause life-threatening infections.

“Because of the immature digestive and immune systems, premature babies face unique challenges when it comes to feeding. The mixture of probiotics in our study led to better feeding tolerability and reduced signs of allergic reactions in infants’ digestive systems,” says Dr. Bel. Alshaikh, MD, neonatologist at Foothills c Medical Center and one of the principal investigators. “Some strains of probiotics were detected in the gut after six months of discontinuing probiotics and may have contributed to the low incidence of food allergies after discharge from the hospital.”

While research shows that probiotics can improve the immunity and health of premature babies, Alshaikh says more research is still needed to determine the best blend of probiotics and confirm the safety of available commercial products. He adds that parents should consult their doctor before giving probiotics to a newborn.

Many of the infants in this study are part of a larger study of premature infants led by Arrieta and her team: Alberta BLOOM study. This study monitors health and the microbiome premature babies throughout his childhood. The next goal of the researchers is to understand how early it is microbiome intervention can affect children’s health as they grow older.

The results are published in Cellular host and microbes.


Ask your pediatrician: can probiotics help children with stomach problems after taking antibiotics?


Additional information:
Jumana Samara et al., Supplementation with a mixture of probiotics accelerates the maturation of the intestinal microbiome and reduces inflammation of the intestines in very premature infants, Cellular host and microbes (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.chom.2022.04.005

Citation: Research shows that probiotic supplement helps form mature microbiome in very premature babies (2022, May 20), obtained May 20, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-05-probiotic-supplement-mature -microbiome-extremely. html

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