A recent article in The New York Times from summer of 2020 addressed the problem of malnourished children and the gut microbiome. It’s one of the many new articles exploring the world of our bodies at the microbial level. The food you eat may have a bigger impact on your health than even your genetic makeup. What we feed our microbiome can affect everything from health to mood to disease facilitation. Below are some excerpts from The New York Times article, Gut Microbes Might Keep Malnourished Children From Growing”, written by Katherine J. Wu, 22 July 2020. The full article is at end of excerpts.
(I have a blog from Jan. 16th, “Your microbes are amazing! Next frontier in health”, if you want to find more information on microbiomes)
‘“The only way to cure malnutrition is with nutrition,” said Maria Gloria Dominguez Bello, a microbiologist at Rutgers University who was not involved in the study. But for children in whom dietary changes alone are not enough, she added, “what you want is to break that resilience.” She said that the findings suggested this could be accomplished through interventions that alter the microbiota, the population of microbes in the gut.
Data tying intestinal microbes to malnutrition are not new. As a part of a decade-long collaboration, Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Gordon have produced several studies showing that nurturing the gut’s microscopic tenants can spur healthy growth in young children, and may even aid recovery after periods of severe weight loss.’
“There is almost certainly more to the picture, Dr. Gordon said. In the study, children with more inflammation did not experience more stunting. “So we’re missing something,” he said. And what’s true of malnourished children in Bangladesh won’t necessarily apply to populations in other parts of the world, Dr. Ahmed added.
But the study’s findings still hold a great deal of promise for global health, Dr. Ward said. Perhaps future interventions might include treatments that bolster the well-being of not just the human cells in our bodies but the bacterial ones, too. Combating malnutrition may be just as much about feeding our microbes as it is about feeding ourselves.”