When does our flora stop differentiating?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 30, 2012 at 3:35 AM

A friend of mine is about to start solids for his kid. I've heard that it mostly comes from parents at birth and doesn't change much after that. Is that true? Of course Paleo ingredients are best but is it wishful thinking to suggest that less pathogenic bacteria will take root by avoiding processed grains as a first food?



on November 30, 2012
at 07:07 AM

Check out the transcripts from the microbiome conference in France this last spring. I don't remember who the study author was, but there were a number of rural and urban cultures studied, and it appeared that children had vastly different gut bacteria from their parents (meaning it changed as they interacted with their environment and other children, and spouses developed gut bacteria that resembled each other over time. Loads of interesting stuff in there but it has been many months since I read any of it, so I can't remember exactly where stuff was. http://www.metahit.eu/paris2012

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3 Answers



on May 03, 2013
at 10:41 PM


Gut Flora can change quickly and drastically! In this study, different strains were examined during several weeks of feeding people resistant starch.

In as little as one week, the good bacteria had grown nearly 10-fold.

Breast fed babies gut flora is nearly 90% bifidobacteria. Adults are at 5% or so. By eating a diet high in RS, bifidobacteria can account for over 20% of gut flora in just a few weeks.

When bifidobacterial counts are high, enterobacteria counts are low. Enterobacteria is the bad kind, like e.coli, salmonella, and others.


on March 08, 2013
at 05:17 PM

The gut flora initially comes from the mother. I've seen no studies that claimed that it never ever changes after that. It seems obvious to me that it might change after a course of antibiotics as what's left around fights to recolonize your gut, and it's likely to change slowly over time depending on what you're eating (in particular, the amounts of carbs and fiber).

There was an interesting study that showed how gut flora of different people clusters into three major types, but there was no claim that it's stable over lifetime.


on November 30, 2012
at 06:39 AM

Mostly determined from mum during birth and varies according to method of delivery eg vaginal vs c-section. After that antibiotics are the biggest determinant but it makes sense that if you starve certain bacteria from their preferred food others will displace them.

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