However, new studies show that the effects of this transfer don’t last as long as we once believed.
There have been studies conducted on more than 1,000 people by the the Flemish Gut Flora Project (FGFP).
The Project published its results in Science, the journal.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Jeroen Raes, said, “We studied the microbiota of adult individuals in Belgium.
It’s one of the largest studies worldwide.”
What they discovered through extensive research on adults who had been born using the caesarean technique, is that there’s no difference in the variety of microbiomes from adults who were born vaginally.
They conducted the same study on adults who’d been breastfed and those who hadn’t and found very similar results.
Raes said “There’s very little evidence that the microbiota was different in adult age.
We were surprised by that.
Everyone assumes your microbiota is determined at birth, but we didn’t see that.”
At Imperial College of London, a biochemist named Dr Julian Marchesi studies the microbiome of humans, though she wasn’t involved in this study.
Her understanding is that the results make sense: “I know that [early-life events] have an impact in the first couple of years of life, and maybe the first five years.
But when you get on to solids, and start interacting with other people, it seems like early life events get wiped out.”
We aren’t denying the good effect these things have though.
Raes said, “It’s still very possible that early-life events can still affect your health in important ways.
This result doesn’t mean that they don’t have a strong effect at a young age, when you’re a baby.
“And that could maybe have long-term effects on your health and your immune development.”
While he thinks more research is needed, Marchesi agrees: “We’re struggling to find out the consequences of early life events on later life.
Autoimmune diseases seem to be impacted by the microbiome, and how the body reacts to infection.
But that early-life window, we don’t know the significance of it for cognitive development, immune development, and so on.”