Countless studies have shown that a healthy, balanced gut plays an important role in digestive health, immune health, and much more—which is why taking care of our friendly gut bacteria should begin at an early age. Below are two new studies focusing on the importance of a healthy gut in children and teens.
Gut Bacteria and Childhood Obesity: A Clear Link
While previous research has found a connection between gut bacteria and obesity in adults, a new Yale University study has found a similar link in young people. After analyzing the health data for more than 80 kids and teens of varying weights, researchers discovered that those who were obese had noticeably different gut microbes—including the presence of certain types of bacteria involved with fat production.
According to lead author Dr. Nicola Santoro in a recent news release, “Our findings show children and teenagers with obesity have a different composition of gut flora than lean youth. This suggests that targeted modifications to the specific species composing the human microbiota could be developed and could help to prevent or treat early-onset obesity in the future.”
Can Fecal Transplants Help Kids with IBD?
Canadian researchers believe the answer is yes. They recently started work on PediFETCh (the pediatric fecal transplant for ulcerative colitis trial), a first-of-its-kind study to see if transplanting beneficial gut bacteria from healthy donors to children with inflammatory bowel disease may help alleviate symptoms and improve digestive health. If successful, fecal transplants may one day provide an alternative to medication and/or surgery.