You are not only what you eat, but what you ate as a child

By: Information Source - Science Daily Feb 3 2021

You are not only what you eat, but what you ate as a child, are the words of evolutionary physiologist Theodore Garland, whose team at the University of California discovered in a recent study, conducted on mice, that eating too much fat and sugar as a child can alter your microbiome for life, even if you later learn to eat healthier.

An unhealthy gut biome is strongly connected to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, therefore WELL before the many stressors of pubescent life and beyond start, parent's must ensure that their children's bodies and minds are physically developed enough to withstand it all, and a sensible place to start is with their gut microbiome.

The microbiome refers to all the bacteria as well as fungi, parasites, and viruses that live on and inside a human or animal. Most of these microorganisms are found in the intestines, and most of them are helpful, stimulating the immune system, breaking down food and helping synthesize key vitamins.
In a healthy body, there is a balance of pathogenic and beneficial organisms. However, if the balance is disturbed, either through the use of antibiotics, illness, or unhealthy diet, the body could become susceptible to disease.

In this study, Garland's team looked for impacts on the microbiome after dividing their mice into four groups: half fed the standard, 'healthy' diet, half-fed the less healthy 'Western' diet, half with access to a running wheel for exercise, and half without.

After three weeks spent on these diets, all mice were returned to a standard diet and no exercise, which is normally how mice are kept in a laboratory. At the 14 week mark, the team examined the diversity and abundance of bacteria in the animals.
They found that the number of bacteria was significantly reduced in the Western diet group.
The analysis also showed that the gut bacteria are sensitive to the amount of exercise the mice got.
Some bacteria increased in mice fed a standard diet who had access to a running wheel and decreased in mice on a high-fat diet whether they had exercise or not.

Overall, the researchers found that early life Western diet had more long-lasting effects on the microbiome than did early-life exercise and most significantly, how long a poor diet affects the gut biome even after changing back to a healthy diet.

University of California - Riverside. "Childhood diet has a lifelong impact: Effects of unhealthy food followed young mice into adulthood."


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