Non-breast milk diet increases gut microbial diversity and inflammation in six-month-old infants


  • Soroush Mohebat
  • Pooya Namavari
  • Sourena Oveisi
  • Negarin Shahtalebi University of British Columbia


The interplay between the gut microbiome, inflammation, and diet is established. Previous research has explored the connections between the gut microbiome and inflammation. However, there is a lack of research evaluating this interplay within anemic and non anemic infant populations. This study investigates how anemia and diet, specifically breast milk (BM) and non-breast milk (non-BM) diets (lacking breast milk), affect inflammation and the gut microbiome. At first we found that diet plays a significant role on gut microbial diversity and inflammation, with a non-BM diet showing a significant increase in both gut microbial diversity and inflammation level. We then found that for BM and non-BM diets, anemic status of six-month-old infants does not significantly alter inflammation and the gut microbiota. Further analysis of the core microbiome then showed a higher number of indicator species in the gut microbiome of infants on a non-BM diet and those with elevated inflammation levels. An indicator species analysis of the gut microbiota revealed the presence of potentially pro-inflammatory microbes that were common in infants on the non-BM diet and those with elevated inflammation. These data suggest that a non-BM diet can lead to an increased risk of inflammatory diseases due to an increase in abundance of proinflammatory microbes. Overall, this study highlights the importance of using breast milk when considering an infants' diet, especially in situations where they are exposed to potentially higher inflammation levels.


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