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Infant gut metabolites may increase risk of overweight at age 3 years

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

SyMBIOTA research published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined the relationship between the presence of specific metabolites in an infant’s gut, and a child’s risk of obesity at one and three years of age.

Using samples from 647 infants in the CHILD Study, researchers analyzed a number of important metabolites in the infants’ stool at age 3-4 months and correlated them with information about these children’s body mass index (BMI) scores at ages 1 and 3 years. They found that a greater presence of one infant fecal metabolite (formate) lowered the BMI by age three, whereas the greater presence of a different metabolite (butyrate) increased a child’s BMI. However, the researchers also found that these differences in metabolites did not affect obesity risk among infants that were exclusively breastfed; in other words, exclusive breastfeeding appeared to counterbalance the obesity-influencing effects of these fecal metabolites.

The study identifies an important area of future research in understanding the pathogenesis of obesity.

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