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article imageFind out how breastfeeding boosts the immune system

By Tim Sandle     Feb 23, 2015 in Health
Scientists have demonstrated that breastfeeding, along with other factors, beneficially influences a baby's immune system development. It also reduces susceptibility to allergies and asthma.
The latest findings in support of breastfeeding come from an analysis of various studies that have recently been collated. The finding arose from an investigation into the hygiene hypothesis, a theory which suggests that exposure to microorganisms during infancy helps the immune system to fully develop.
The issue at play seems to be the role that the mother’s breast milk plays in populating the microbiome of the baby’s gut. The microbiome is a term describing the microorganisms in the gastrointestional, tract and the associated genetic elements. Various strands of research show that the microbiome plays a role in influencing health and susceptibility to disease. In particular, breast milk helps to reduce the risk of developing asthma.
The review of the different studies indicated that the types of bacteria present in the gut help to shape or hinder the development of immune cells. This occurs because breastfed babies appear to have distinct microbiome compositions compared to non-breastfed babies.
It was also found that breastfed babies are at a decreased risk of developing allergies to pets and tend to experience fewer episodes of asthma.
The results have yet to be published. The research was undertaken by a consortium of scientists based at George Regents University, University of California-San Francisco and University of Michigan.
In related news, new research has discovered that a baby’s diet during the first few months of life influences the microbes in the baby’s gut. In turn, this influences baby’s ability to move from milk to solid foods and it could also affect health in later life.
More about Breastfeeding, Immunity, microbiome, Immune System, Health
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