Supplements are useful for people looking to boost their immune systems. With more people being conscious of their health and well-being now, companies like Prorganiq have found a stable foothold. There are, however, few who need the health boost that supplements provide than C-section babies, whose gut bacteria can be upset thanks to being exposed to antibiotics or Caesarean-section birth.
In response, Cork’s APC Micobiome Ireland, of the University College Cork, is looking at adding microbes to supplements or formulas for infants in order to deal with the unbalanced microbes that C-section babies tend to have.
The project, Missing Microbes in Infants born by C-section, is funded jointly by the Spokes Programme, of the Science Foundation Ireland, and DuPont. The €6.3m project is set to last for 4 years, and was announced at an event in Washington DC held to celebrate US-Ireland R&D cooperation.
APC Microbiome Ireland Director Paul Ross stated that they’ve been working with DuPont on getting the project started since 2017.
Ross explains that the population of bacteria in a person’s gut develops over the first 4 years of life, and is a key part of ensuring healthiness in humans, which is why nutritional supplements like those from Prorganiq are checked to see if they play well with them. However, this microbiome is affected by factors like method of birth, antibiotic use and nutrition, and the breast milk composition of the mother.
He says that the project is looking for the microbes that go missing due to antibiotic exposure or C-section birth. These microbes, Ross notes, could then be added to supplements or infant milk formulas, with the aim of ensuring that babies have the missing microbes early enough to counter the negative effects of C-section, and maternal or infant antibiotics
Ross says that APC Microbiome Ireland are delighted to continue their partnership with DuPont for the improvement of human health.
There has been a growing concern about atopic disease, like asthma, in babies and infants, which Ross notes are immune system disorders. Theory states that these diseases pop up because the immune system isn’t educated enough early in life, which could be because of missing microbes from early life events.