One’s socioeconomic status (SES) can be inferred from a number of indicators, including income, occupation, the level of education their parents received, and so on. Children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tend to be heavier, according to available research. Adolescents may also be more vulnerable to clinical depression, mental distress, and substance abuse. A new study has added problems with gut health.
The study, which was published in Microorganisms, establishes a connection between low SES and the composition of the microorganisms living in the digestive systems of children. The results could pave the way for a more nuanced appreciation of how a kid’s surroundings can shape their health.
The Results of the Study
The study, led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, analyzed information from over 600 children and teenagers. Children’s socioeconomic status was uncovered through parent-completed reports. Children’s ages, genders, parents’ educational levels, and delivery methods (C-section vs. vaginal) were recorded.
The researchers gathered data to better understand the state of the children’s digestive systems. They collected nucleic acids from the children’s feces and saliva samples to analyze genetic material. Researchers looked for a wide variety of gut microorganisms in the children’s samples, including Bacteroides, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, and Anaerostipes. The bacteria count was meant to be a rough estimate.
Scientists were able to establish connections between participants’ genetic backgrounds and their blood types thanks to the information they gathered about their families.
Children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds have a greater abundance of beneficial bacteria.
This is the first research focusing on youngsters to make these connections. Adult research, however, corroborates the results.
A 2019 study of twins indicated that adults’ intestinal health was negatively affected by socioeconomic status. Several other factors, including one’s ethnic background, lifestyle, nutrition, and cultural customs, have been shown to affect one’s gut health.
Intestinal Microbiome Health Is Crucial.
The microbiome is a word used to describe the microorganisms found in a person’s body, which may include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The microbiome in the gut can affect how well the immune system works. Human brain health can also be affected, with the stimulation of neurons creating hormones and neurotransmitters and ultimately sending signals to the brain.
Having a well-functioning gut also facilitates the elimination of waste products and digestion. Children’s bodies benefit in the here and now and in the future from having a healthy digestive system. Scientists believe that the composition of microorganisms in the digestive tract plays a role in the development of susceptibility to various diseases, both in adults and children.
Poor gut health can result in a variety of symptoms and disorders, including IBS, eczema, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Supporting a Sound Digestive System
A healthy digestive system is the consequence of an equilibrium of microorganisms, or bacteria, in the intestines. In the event of a disruption in this equilibrium, experts advise keeping an eye out for a variety of signs to determine whether or not the issues have persisted. Here are a few examples:
- Constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn are just some of the digestive disorders people face.
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss or growth.
- Inability to get to sleep.
- A state of extreme lethargy or exhaustion.
- Irritation of the skin or the onset of allergies.
- Concerns of the mind and heart, such as melancholy and fretfulness.
If parents see any worrying symptoms in their child, they should make an appointment with the pediatrician. Nutrition can play a significant role in intestinal health, alongside environmental and parental variables.
Vegetables, sweets, and antibiotics should be eaten less and used only when absolutely essential.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, supplementing with probiotics, eating foods rich in fiber or prebiotics, and drinking enough water can all help.
A parent’s current ability to influence some aspects of their family’s socioeconomic status may be limited. However, if you work with your child to improve their diet, physical activity, and sleep habits, you may be able to improve their gut health.
The Implications of This Finding For You
The condition of one’s digestive tract is a reliable indicator of one’s general health. This study highlights the role that socioeconomic status and the environment play in setting the stage for a less robust gut microbiome. A parent’s role includes encouraging their child to make healthy dietary selections, participate in active play, and get enough rest. This will be the greatest immediate and long-term benefit to their digestive health.