What you eat and do in the first 1000 days, makes a difference for gut health

The first 1000 days of life – from conception until 2 years of age – are crucial for the proper development of the individual and long-term health. Increasing evidence suggests that the early life environment, such as nutrition, can affect the developing gastrointestinal tract, including its microbiota, and modify the risk profile for intestinal disorders later in life, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease.

In the recent review published in Nutrition Reviews, scientific experts from Lille Inflammation Research International Center (LIRIC) of University Lille in France, Wageningen University and Danone Nutricia Research in the Netherlands provide an overview of the maturation of the gastrointestinal tract and the role of gut microbiota and epigenetic mechanisms in shaping its function as well as long-term health. The review discusses relevant environmental factors and the critical windows of development during which these factors can influence susceptibility to intestinal inflammatory diseases later in life.

“There is accumulating evidence that early-life environmental factors, can affect the health status later in life, mediated by microbiota and epigenetic mechanisms. For example, the risk to develop chronic intestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, has been linked to feeding mode, mode of delivery and antibiotic use by epidemiological studies. More experimental studies are needed to confirm the long-term effects of these factors on diseases susceptibility and to characterize underlying mechanisms.” said Dr Mischke, Senior Scientist Nutritional Programming, one of the authors of the review.

This understanding of the role of the early environment in modifying the risk of intestinal inflammatory disorders is important for the development of preventive strategies to promote life-long gut health.


The full text of the paper can be found on: