The researchers looked at children's gut flora at age three to four months and their weight at ages one and three years, using the World Health Organization growth charts for body mass index (BMI) scores. The association was found in the new study too since the infants who had higher levels of Lachnospiraceae also had a higher body mass index (BMI) by the time they were three years old.
Anita Kozyrskyj, a U of A pediatrics professor and lead on the investigation into how adjustment of infant gut microbiome impact health says that the results have shown that infants who are living in households where disinfectants are used at least twice a week are likely to have higher levels of bacteria called Lachnospiraceae at three to four months of age.
The link between disinfectants, gut bacteria, and weight is compelling, and it should be studied more.
While more research is required before a strong recommendation can be put forward, these findings do seem to support the use of eco-friendly cleaning products. Another has shown that piglets exposed to aerosolized disinfectants demonstrate altered gut microbiota.
Babies living in households that dilapidated eco-correct cleaners were less likely to be chubby as minute toddlers.
"Infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of different types of gut microbes, such as Enterobacteriaceae".
"We did not find a relationship between detergents and gut microbiome change or obesity risk that was independent of disinfectant usage", said Kozyrskyj, adding that it is important to distinguish detergents from disinfectants since the usage of both is highly correlated.
Household cleaning products may be making children fat, study suggests
Inability to classify cleaning products by their actual ingredients was the limitation of the study.
What is clear, however, is that adults can help protect infant gut microbiome and cut risk of weight gain and obesity by eliminating disinfectant agents in household cleaning regimes, concludes Kozyrskyj.
One reason could be that the use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of infants.
The researchers report their results in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), in a paper titled, "Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children". They also note that that further research will now be needed.
"Our "mediation" statistical analysis suggests that a gut microbiome enriched with Lachnospiraceae early in infancy was likely directly responsible for children becoming overweight or obese". "Because this is a first study, confirmatory research in other cohorts is required", Dr. Kozyrskyj acknowledges.
And "higher frequency of use of disinfectant was associated with higher abundance of Lachnospiraceae", said Kozyrskyj. Microbiome adjustments attributable to some environmental components equivalent to antibiotic exhaust can change that microbiome, are usually transitory, and the smartly-liked childhood pattern is then resumed. "I want to emphasize that our findings on the disinfectant use were at the higher end of use". She also stated that not using disinfectants at home might put a child at risk of spreading infection.
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