The importance of developing the immune system in the first months of life

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) say that many diseases caused by the unregulated immune system have their origin in the first months of life . And is that according to this study, there is a connection that links breast milk, beneficial intestinal bacteria and the development of the immune system .

Petter Brodin, one of the main authors of this research explains that a possible application of our results is a preventive method to reduce the risk of allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases in later stages of life and, helping the immune system to establish its regulatory mechanisms .

In this sense, it should be noted that the incidence of these autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, asthma and Crohn’s disease, increases in adolescent children around the world and. Although these diseases are debilitating, although they are not common in low-income countries, such as Europe or the United States in.

It has been known for some time that the risk of developing these Diseases related to the immune system are highly dependent on events that arise in the first stage of life.

Development of the immune system

With all this, it is true that there is a link between bacteria and specific skin protectors, the respiratory tract, the intestine and, with a lower risk of developing immunological diseases. However, in this regard, there is still a long way to go and to know precisely how these bacteria make up the immune system.

Bebé sistema inmune

Thus, a study led by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied how the immune system of newborns adapts to the numerous viruses, bacteria, nutrients and other environmental factors to which it the baby remains exposed during the first months of life.

In relation to this research, it is necessary to clarify that breast milk is a source of HMO (human milk oligosaccharides), that babies they do not have the ability to metabolize on their own. However, the production of this type of complex sugar is linked to the evolutionary advantage of feeding specific intestinal bacteria that play a leading role in their immune system.

In this regard, Professor Brodin notes that we found that babies whose gut flora can break down HMOs have less inflammation in the blood and gut. This is probably due to the unique ability of bifidobacteria to break down HMOs, to spread in nursing babies, and to have a beneficial effect on the developing immune system in the first years of life.

Conclusion of the investigation

An important clarification is that the investigators had a limitation during the study. And it is that they could not study the immune system directly in the intestine, if not that they had to resort to blood samples. In this sense, not all the elements of the intestinal immune system can be observed in the blood.

Finally, the researchers seek to continue analyzing in depth the formation of the immune system in the first months of life of the baby

To conclude, Professor Brodin says that we are planning a new experiment using bacterial substitution to see if we can help all babies have a healthier immunological start in life. We are also working with other researchers to compare the immune system development of Swedish babies with that of babies growing up in rural sub-Saharan Africa, where the incidence of allergies is much lower.