Briefly Noted: Breastfeeding and Microbiome Diversity

A recent study (JH Savage et al J Pediatr 2018; 203: 47-54) examined the impact of breastfeeding compared with formula on microbiome diversity in 323 infants; this included 95 exclusively breastfed, 169 exclusively formula fed at time of stool collection.

Breastfed infants were more likely to have been born vaginally (74% vs 62%) and less likely to be African-American (11% vs. 36% for hispanic infants, and 52% for caucasian).

Key finding:

  • Breastfeeding was independently associated with infant intestinal microbiome diversity at age 3-6 months
  • Maternal diet during pregnancy and solid food introduction were less associated with infant gut microbiome changes than breastfeeding status

My take: We still don’t understand the long-term implications of these differences in microbiome alterations between breastfeeding and formula.  That being said, the development/evolution of breastmilk has taken place over thousands of years and it is likely that formula, while an important substitute, will never replicate all of the useful components.

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2 thoughts on “Briefly Noted: Breastfeeding and Microbiome Diversity

  1. Pingback: Genetically-Modified Gut Bacteria | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: Healthy Microbiome: A Work in Progress, Plus Microbiome-Drug Metabolism | gutsandgrowth

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