Today, we're talking about the mother of all gut health indicators: your mom. Yep, just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re diving into how your gut microbiome is tied to your mother's gut microbiome in utero, and how your mother continues to shape your gut health throughout your life. Yes, you heard it right. Your mom is not only responsible for your wavy hair and parallel parking skills, but also your gut health.
Let's start with the basics. Your gut microbiome is a community of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that live in your digestive system. These microorganisms play a crucial role in your health, from aiding digestion to regulating your immune system. And, as we all know, research has shown that a healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and wellbeing.
Now, here's where things get interesting. Your gut microbiome is not just a product of you, your diet and lifestyle. Your gut microbiome is also influenced by your mother's gut microbiome during your time in utero. Studies have shown that the bacteria in your mother's gut are passed through the placenta to you before you are even born, shaping the development of your own gut microbiome.
But it doesn't stop there. Your mother continues to shape your gut health throughout your life. Breast milk, for example, is an excellent source of prebiotics, which are substances that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. So, if you were breastfed as a baby, your mother was providing you with a good start for a healthy gut microbiome, and may have even helped prevent allergies.
If you weren’t breastfed, your mother still influenced your gut microbiome simply by holding you. It’s true—studies show that skin-to-skin contact results in a distinct microbial pattern that improves digestive function, decreases stress, and improves survival. Talk about a mother’s love!
On the other hand, if your mother had poor gut health, whether due to poor diet, stress, or medication use, she may have passed on a less diverse and less healthy gut microbiome to you. This can increase your risk of various health issues, from digestive problems to autoimmune diseases.
But let’s not blame our moms for everything. Because the good news is that there are ways to improve your gut microbiome. Eating a diet rich in fiber and fermented foods, avoiding antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, reducing stress, and taking daily probiotics can all help promote a healthy gut microbiome.
So now you know—your gut health is not just about what you eat and how you live. It’s also about your mom. So, the next time you catch a glimpse of yourself and notice how you’re starting to look just like your mom, know that it goes waaayyy beyond skin deep. And if you're a mom yourself, consider it yet another reason to prioritize your own gut health…after all, you're passing on more than just your eye color!