Hints that antibiotics, C-sections may affect baby gut germs

Two new studies are offering some of the clearest snapshots yet of how babies build up protective gut bacteria, adding to evidence that antibiotics and birth by C-section may disrupt that development.
Intestinal bacteria play key roles in health but little is known about how babies develop their own unique set, what’s called the gut microbiome. Wednesday, scientists who tracked infants through toddlerhood reported the first two to three years of life are critical for that development.
Both studies found repeated antibiotics early in life diminished the bugs’ diversity. They detail how babies delivered by C-section also lack certain bacteria, which may heighten antibiotics’ effect.
More research is needed to know if these childhood differences matter for later-in-life health.
The studies are published in Science Translational Medicine.

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