When a mother gives birth vaginally and if she breastfeeds, she passes on colonies of essential microbes to her baby. This continues a chain of maternal heritage that stretches through female ancestry for thousands of generations, if all have been vaginally born and breastfed. During pregnancy, the baby is mostly protected from harmful microorganisms by the amniotic sac, but recent research suggests the baby could be exposed to small quantities of microbes from the placenta, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood and fetal membranes.
Think bacteria are bad? Think again. Bacteria and other microbes including fungi and viruses are often thought of as sources of disease, but in fact many play an essential role in keeping you healthy.
So, either no-one knows what I am talking about or no-one knows! There's another aspect talked about with virgin gut which is where proteins "leak" out of the wall of the immature gut and cause allergies etc. According to the gut expert I spoke to, this can happen but is more a response to stress than different substrates.
It is true that what you eat can affect your gut bacteria, for better and for worse, and changes in your gut bacteria or microbiome cause weight gain. Indeed, some studies demonstrate that high-fat diets can adversely affect your gut flora and promote inflammation and weight gain. However, it's important to note that the type of fat you eat matters!
Despite many years of widespread international recommendations to support exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, common hospital feeding and birthing practices do not coincide with the necessary steps to support exclusive breastfeeding. Consequently, these practices play a role in the alarmingly high rate of formula-feeding worldwide. Formula-feeding has been shown to alter the infant gut microbiome in favor of proinflammatory taxa and increase gut permeability and bacterial load.
If you haven't, you're not alone. In essence, a virgin gut is a new term used to describe the clean slate gut of an infant who has yet to take in formula or solid foods and has only ever had breast milk as a form of nourishment. Breastfeeding has come in and out of favor in the last several decades, but as research continues to shed light on just how essential breast milk is for health, society is thankfully moving back towards exclusive breastfeeding and delaying solid food until after six months.
Have you heard of the virgin gut? There is no middle ground in VirginGutVille. The gut of a baby is immunologically and microbiologically naive at birth.
There is a persistent myth about infant gut development that comes up in nearly every online discussion of starting solid foods. I have written before, in my book and on my blogabout the controversy around when to begin introducing solid foods to a baby. Wow, that does sound scary! All of this only serves to increase anxiety in parents, which is the last thing any of us need.
This allows larger substances, such as bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles, to pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that increased intestinal permeability may be connected to several chronic and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. This article takes a look at leaky gut syndrome and its causes.