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Why bacteria can be good for babies

We all know that good health and nutrition are important. But they are especially important during the first years of childhood, as early life sets the stage for healthy growth and development, helping the body thrive from the very beginning.

Did you know that trillions of bacteria inhabit our gut and other parts of the body, playing a critical role in our overall health?

By adulthood, we host somewhere between 500 and 1,000 species of gut bacteria, which fight off infection, digest food, and metabolize nutrients. These bacteria also interact with the central nervous system to influence our mood and cognitive health. In other words, they can impact not only how we feel but also how we think, learn, and remember.
The foundation for that vast collection of bacteria is established by the age of three. Therefore, the period from birth to age three is an important time for the body.

Optimal microbiome development

Infants start getting beneficial microbes right from birth. These tiny helpers teach the infant's immune system the ropes, helping their bodies learn what's harmful and what's not.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast milk is the best source of nutrition and most effective way for infants to develop healthy microbiomes in early life. It contains compounds called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which provide food for key beneficial bacteria.
But the abundance of the beneficial bacteria in the infant’s gut can be influenced by many factors such as antibiotic exposure, type of delivery, maternal nutrition and feeding mode of the baby. And sometimes, breastfeeding may not be an option or antibiotics are necessary. In such cases, synergistic synbiotics may offer a beneficial solution.

Innovative solutions and alternatives to support infant health

Synergistic synbiotics are special combinations of prebiotics and probiotics that work together to support a healthy gut. Prebiotics are food for the beneficial bacteria, and probiotics are the good bacteria themselves. When combined, they boost each other's benefits, helping to keep the gut balanced and healthy.
dsm-firmenich and Lallemand Health Solutions are working together to make special mixtures called synergistic synbiotic solutions. 
Combining HMOs from dsm-firmenich and probiotics from Lallemand, these solutions will provide potential synergistic benefits that support infant health and development. They aim to support a microbiome establishment closer to that of healthy breastfed infants.

"Our partnership with Lallemand Health Solutions marks a significant milestone in the early life nutrition market with the development of game-changing synbiotic solutions that aim to narrow the gap in outcomes between breastfed and non-breastfed infants when breastfeeding is not possible."

- James Young, Vice President Early Life Nutrition at dsm-firmenich. 

Tips for supporting microbiome health

Microbiome health is crucial, not just in early life, but for people of all ages. Here are some tips to help everyone improve their microbiome health:
- Nutrition
For older children and adults aiming for a healthy microbiome, focus on a balanced diet rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Incorporate fermented foods like yogurt to boost beneficial probiotics for gut health.
- Physical activity
Staying active throughout the week is not only great for your physical health, but also for your microbiome.

Building foundations for lifelong health

Focusing on microbiome health in the early years sets the stage for lifelong well-being. By nurturing a healthy gut from the start, we can support overall health and development as children grow. 
Innovative solutions, such as synbiotic products, offer a promising way to optimize microbiome health, bridging the gap in health outcomes between breastfed and non-breastfed infants for a healthier future.

The full text of the press release is available here.