Our mothers give us so much - their love, strength, and most importantly, life. There is one gift that goes unnoticed and unseen. It is not a singular gift, but trillions of microscopic gifts... our microbiomes.
“Your microbiome is a life-long gift from Mum.”
The gift of the Microbiome.
The microbiome is a constellation teeming with different microscopic organisms, mostly bacteria, which reside in, on, and around us. It is incredibly important to our daily functioning - from breaking down food and maintaining immunity to even controlling how well our brains work.
In the first moments of life, the way we are born determines what our microbiomes do for us. During labour, our mother seeds us with her microbiome, transferring beneficial bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium to our gut. These beneficial microbes live in our gut lining, protecting us against chronic and autoimmune diseases, and even allergies.
What happens when this natural transfer does not take place, for example, in the case of caesarean sections?
If this initial microbiome seeding no longer takes place, the microbiome of C-section born infants may be colonised by opportunistic microbes which have the potential to cause disease instead of beneficial ones. This in turn could explain why C-section born infants have higher rates of autoimmune diseases, asthma, allergies, obesity, and even autism later in life - all of which have links to the microbiome.
It is vital for mothers to transfer their microbiomes to form our own. And just as she was taking care of you when she was pregnant, ensuring our daily needs were met, so was her microbiome - metabolising nutrients and fending off microbial invaders for you.
There is still one more avenue of microbiome modulation; one that involves the earliest form of nutrition we receive - milk. This second round of microbiome modulation is achieved by important compounds present in breast milk. Human milk oligosaccharides, a class of sugars found in breast milk, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria present in the infant gut. Beneficial bacterial species present in breast milk also reinforce the infant gut microbiota. Lastly, breast milk also contains compounds that aid in immune regulation, further providing beneficial effects to the infant gut microbiome.
“Mothers have given us a trillion gifts, sharing their own microbiomes to benefit us.”
The efforts of raising and parenting a child may have caused many sleepless nights, irregular meals and unhealthy eating habits, resulting in mothers' gut microbiome health being affected. Perhaps their acid reflux and gut issues weren’t just matters of advancing age, but conditions caused by parenting all those years ago. The power of a mother’s unconditional love is beyond words and can conquer mountains. Protecting their child at all costs. We owe them everything we are and have today.
Go the extra mile this Mother’s Day.
BIO & ME’s Care Packs for Mum help promote good gut health and alleviate common gut issues - allowing her more time to enjoy with you and her loved ones by giving the gift of gut health.