The gut microbiome we are born with isn’t the same one we carry with us over time. Species of bacteria and other microbes can come and go depending on our environment, diet, lifestyle and behaviours, and this can have a profound impact on our health. We are going to look at the different stages of life, how our gut needs change over time and how we might benefit from nurturing the world within our bodies.
Infants: Everyone has a unique gut microbiome, which is shaped heavily by the first few years of life. The type of bacteria and other microbes that colonise the gut are influenced by how we were born (vaginal or caesarean birth), whether we were breastfed or not, gestational age (length of pregnancy), birth weight, antibiotic use during the first years of life, diet and even whether we have furry pets in the household.1 A healthy gut microbiome is a diverse microbiome with differing bacteria species, and building this foundation early on can have many benefits for a child as they grow and develop. Taking an appropriate probiotic at this time, such as Inner Health Baby Probiotic Drops, may contribute to the development of good bacteria and support a healthy digestive tract and immunity. This may be especially beneficial for infants who were born via caesarean delivery, formula fed or who have received antibiotics, which can affect the diversity of gut bacteria.2
Pre-schoolers: A pre-schooler’s gut microbiome is still continuing to change and evolve according to their diet and environment. Ensuring a healthy and diverse community of gut bacteria at this time can help support digestion and boost the body’s immune response, helping to keep pre-school sickness at bay. Young children are notoriously susceptible to illness since their immune systems are still developing. They are also prone to ear infections3. Taking a kid-friendly probiotic such as Inner Health Plus Baby and Kids can aid gut health and digestive wellbeing, support immunity and maintain ear health and help re-establish gut bacteria if antibiotics are needed.
Primary-school aged children: Picky eating, frequent illness and antibiotic use can all shift the balance and diversity of gut bacteria in kids. A probiotic specifically formulated to support a child’s gut microbiome, such as Inner Health Kids Daily Defence, may be beneficial as it contains appropriate strains of bacteria to support a healthy gastrointestinal system, maintain immunity and general wellbeing and help restore the balance of good gut bacteria during antibiotic use. With a delicious natural strawberry flavour, the kids might even ask for their daily dose, which is a bonus!
Teenagers/adolescents: It’s not uncommon for the transitional years between childhood and adulthood to be associated with poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, stress and potentially alcohol use, and these can all impact the health of the gut microbiome. Teenagers may also be affected by poor skin health and acne. Getting your teenager to take a convenient probiotic such as Inner Health On the Go, may help to support the healthy balance of good gut bacteria affected by their lifestyle and support digestive and immune health. If acne is an issue, Inner Health Skin Shield can help reduce the occurrence of acne symptoms and support skin health, healing and repair.
Adults: There are many factors that can challenge our gut health in adulthood including stress, diet, medication we take and even being less active than we should be. Taking a probiotic on a daily basis such as Inner Health Plus if you’re looking for a refrigerated product or Inner Health Plus Double Strength if you’re after the convenience of a shelf-stable offering, can help nurture the gut microbiome, support digestive function, immune health and general health and wellbeing. There are also many specialised probiotic products that target the different ailments you might be troubled with as you get older. For example, Inner Health Candex SB helps with urinary tract and vaginal health, Inner Health IBS Control provides relief from symptoms of medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and Inner Health Heartburn HP works to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
Mature adults (50+): Unfortunately, even our gut microbe community isn’t exempt from the ageing process. As we age, there tends to be a shift in the balance of bacteria in the gut, with less beneficial bacteria strains like Bifidobacterium, which play a role in bowel health and regularity, and higher levels of problematic bacteria.4 There is growing evidence that maintaining a dynamic and diverse gut microbiome as you get older is important for healthy aging.5Taking a targeted probiotic for mature adults, such as Inner Health Probiotic for 50+ Years may help to nourish good gut bacteria, support bowel health and regularity and assist immunity. Because, as your body changes, so should your probiotic support.
- Wernroth, et al, 2022, ‘Development of gut microbiota during the first 2 years of life’, Sci Rep, vol 12, p 9080
- Yasmin F et al, 2017, ‘Cesarean section, formula feeding, and infant antibiotic exposure: Separate and combined impacts on gut microbial changes in later infancy’, Front Pediatr, vol 5
- Royal Children’s Hospital 2018, Clinical practice guidelines: Acute otitis media. Melbourne: RCH. viewed 18 August 2023, http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/Acute_Otitis_Media/
- Rinninella E et al, 2019, ‘What is the Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition? A Changing Ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet, and Diseases’, Microorganisms, vol 7, no 1, p14
- Wilmanski T et al, 2021, ‘Gut microbiome pattern reflects healthy ageing and predicts survival in humans’. Nat Metab, vol 3, 274–286