Caesarean delivery and antibiotics consumed during the first three years of life could affect the healthy development of a child’s intestinal flora.
Two different studies led to this very conclusion. The first, conducted by New York University followed up on 43 children during their first two years of life. The second study was led by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute, who followed up on 39 children until the age of three.
According to these studies, those first years of life would be a critical period for the formation of the intestinal microbiota, whose development could be particularly affected by the repeated use of antibiotics.
The role of the intestinal flora
Bacteria do not always attack our body. In fact, our body contains thousands of them who coexist inside it with a purpose.
If we look looked at our intestines from up close, we would find millions of bacteria that can be classified into approximately 2.000 different species, most of which are beneficial to our health.
This group of bacteria are what makes up our intestinal microbiota, also known as microflora or intestinal flora, an ecosystem in which important processes take place, such as nutrient absorption, the synthesis of certain compounds, the metabolism of some carbohydrates and the prevention of certain types of diseases.
Our microflora being the place where these multiple microorganisms coexist, antibiotics are an enemy that destroys a significant portion of it, in both adults and children. And when the intestinal flora is damaged we are more prone to develop malnutrition and diseases.
You can improve the health of your intestinal flora by following these tips:
- Avoid overusing antibiotics, and once you finish treatment, consume products rich in probiotics.
- Reduce your daily intake of animal fats and sugars and increase your intake of fiber-rich foods.
- To restore your intestinal flora, lactobacilli such as those found in certain yogurts, cheeses, cereals and soy products can be very beneficial as they create an acidic environment in the intestine that protect it from bacteria harmful to our body.