Our Clever Bugs Reveal Another Secret

As we are only just beginning to discover that the Microbiome plays a major role in human health and disease. We are dependent on these bacteria to help us digest our food, produce certain vitamins, regulate our immune system, and keep us healthy by protecting us against disease-causing bacteria.

In 2006 Bruce German and his coleagues at the University of California, Davis · Department of Food Science and Technology, disovered an interesting ingredient in human breast milk solving a long standing mystery.

That human breast milk contains an indigestible material which passes right through the baby. When they looked at how much there was, they found that it was the third most abundant component of the milk. It was a kind of complex sugar called an oligosaccharide-but what was it for?

They found a bacteria in the babies gut which they named Bifidobacterium Infantis (B. Infantis), it is a “friendly” strain of bacteria, a type of lactic acid bacteria found in the same group as Lactobacillus which resides in the baby’s lower intestine.

So why would this bacteria be useful for the baby if it couldn’t digest it? They found that it grows and multiplies until the baby is literally full of this one bacteria, crowding out any other bacterial newcomers that try to compete and so protecting the baby during its vulnerable first months .

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