Solving Dysbiosis of the Newborn Gut Microbiome

Research shows that the newborn gut microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that live within the intestinal tract of newborns — plays a critical role in proper immune and metabolic development as well as meeting the newborn’s nutritional needs.

Disruption of the newborn gut microbiome can cause both acute and chronic health consequences. Based on novel discoveries of the unique partnership between mammalian milk and B. infantis, Evolve has pioneered a microbiome-based approach to solving newborn gut dysbiosis.


A Changing Gut Microbiome

The specific role of the newborn gut microbiome during the first months of life is critically important to lifelong health. Over 100 years ago, scientists discovered that breastfed infants had an intestinal microbiome composed almost entirely of a single type of organism: bifidobacteria. Since then, research has continued to elucidate the importance of bifidobacteria, and specifically Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis), in the infant gut and their impact on lifelong health. [1]

  • Currently, the rate of B. infantis colonization of infants in the US and other industrialized countries is low [2
  • In comparison, the majority of infants in less industrialized countries have a gut microbiome dominated by Bifidobacterium [3,4,5]

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Dysbiosis of the Newborn Gut

This loss of bifidobacteria colonization may be explained in large part by modern medical and dietary practices used in industrialized countries.

  • Increase in C-section: Infants acquire bifidobacteria from their mothers during vaginal delivery. Since 1970, C-sections have increased from 1 in 20 to 1 in 3 in the U.S. [6] 
  • Increased formula feeding: An important type of bifidobacteria, called B. infantis, is uniquely suited to metabolize the carbohydrates found in breast milk, but only 50% of infants in the U.S. are fed breast milk at 6 months. [7]
  • Increased antibiotic use: Each year in the U.S. there are 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, which are known to have a negative impact on the balance of the gut microbiome [8

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Long Term Health Consequences of Dysbiosis

Research is linking this loss of bifidobacteria in the infant gut to increased risk for chronic diseases later in life. 

  • Six times higher incidence of allergies in children with lower levels of bifidobacteria [9]
  • Six times higher incidence of type 1 diabetes in children with lower levels of bifidobacteria [9]
  • Trend toward unhealthy body weight in children who had lower levels of bifidobacteria during infancy [10]

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The Evolve Approach: Right Bug, Right Food, Right Time

In combination with milk oligosaccharides, carbohydrates naturally found in breast milk, supplementation with B. infantis can restore the newborn gut to its natural state. 

  • For 5 million years mammalian milk has evolved to promote the growth of both the newborn and B. infantis in the gut.
  • 15% of mammalian milk is made up of carbohydrates that are indigestible by the neonate, and more efficiently consumed by B. infantis than by any other intestinal bacteria. 
  • Evolve is using this biological insight to develop rationally designed microbiome-based products to solve dysbiosis in both human and animal health applications. 

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Clinical Evidence for Restoration of the Newborn Gut

In a recent clinical trial [11], Evolve showed that supplementation with activated B. infantis, along with consumption of breast milk, led to stable colonization of the infant gut at levels comparable to previous historical and geographical observations.  This restoration of B. infantis resulted in: 

  • 79% increase in total bifidobacteria, persisting more than 30 days beyond supplementation
  • 80% reduction in potentially harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, clostridia
  • Reduction in endotoxin, previously linked to type-1 diabetes, allergies and atopic dermatitis
  • Produce short chain fatty acids which can reduce the risk of obesity  
  • Restore infant fecal pH, last seen over 100 years ago

Our gut microbiome influences nearly every aspect of our health. This symbiotic relationship between microbe and host begins at birth and can nourish and protect newborns as they develop and grow. Evolve has the unique opportunity to significantly impact human and animal long term health, using our microbiome-based approach to solving newborn gut dysbiosis.


References

  1. Lee J. et al., Micro Mol Biol Rev. 2010
  2. Lewis ZT. et al., Microbiome. 2015
  3. Huda MN. et al., Pediatrics. 2014
  4. Yatsunenko T. et al., Nature. 2012
  5. Jaeggi T., et al., Gut. 2015
  6. “Births – Method of Delivery.” National Center for Health Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 7 October 2016. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/delivery.htm. Last accessed 10 March 2017.
  7. Breastfeeding Report Card – United States 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2014breastfeedingreportcard.pdf
  8. “CDC: 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions unnecessary.” CDC Newsroom. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 3 May 2016. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0503-unnecessary-prescriptions.html. Last accessed 10 March 2017.
  9. Vatanen T. et al., Cell. 2016
  10. Kalliomaki M. et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2008
  11. Frese, S.A. et al., mSphere 2017