Scientists discover therapeutic foods to repair gut bacteria among malnourished children

Recent study conducted by experts from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh concentrated efforts towards curbing the prominence of childhood malnutrition.

In the wake of the situation, scientists have thus developed therapeutic foods, designed especially to repair gut microbiomes of malnourished children. According to reports, a diet rich in chickpeas, peanuts and bananas are beneficial in boosting the growth among such children.

Such foods are advantageous in augmenting healthy microbes, in addition to improving growth of body, brain and bones of children belonging to undernourished group of children. According to figures released by the World Health Organization, about 150 million children around the world, under the age of five were malnourished.

The scientists claimed that in addition to being small and weak, the malnourished children suffered from incomplete or ‘immature’ communities of bacteria in the gut, in comparison to healthy children belonging to the same age group. The bacteria gut was attributed as one of the main reasons for poor growth, however they also claimed that all types of food were advantageous in repairing the problem.

Researchers concluded the results based on their findings of types of bacteria present in the healthy guts of Bangladeshi children. With regards to their findings, they tested the food types that boosted the bacterial community in pigs and mice.

Moreover, by means of a one-month trial, scientists also experimented with different diets among 68 malnourished Bangladeshi children aged between 12-18 months. Experts found out that one of the diets stood out exceptionally, this diet contained peanut flour, chickpea paste, soy and bananas. It was this particular diet that augmented gut microbes in the children and thus led to growth of bones and to brain development and improved immune function. Additionally, the ingredients were affordable and acceptable to the diets of the people in Bangladesh.

“Microbes don’t see bananas or peanuts – they just see a blend of nutrients they can use and share. This is a community of microbes that extends far beyond the gut,” commented Prof Jeffrey Gordon, from Washington University, one of the lead authors of the study. “It is intimately linked to health status and we need to figure out the mechanisms so they can also be repaired later in life.”