Why is a healthy gut important for your child’s growth and development?
Your growing baby needs the right nutrition in the right amounts for his growth and development, and almost all the nutrition that he needs will be handled by his gut. Find out how the gut supports the process of digestion and absorption of nutrients by reading this article.
There are many factors that contribute to your child’s growth and development in the early years, and one of them is your child’s gut health.
We don’t often pay attention to our child’s gut (or what is sometimes referred to as tummy) unless there is discomfort. This fact may surprise you, but a healthy gut is, in fact crucial to your baby’s overall health and well-being.11 A healthy gut aids the body in the digestion and absorption of nutrients that are essential for growth, while also protecting your baby from infection and working with the brain to keep him happy.
Helping your baby digest and absorb the right nutrients
Almost all the nutrition that your baby needs will be handled by his gut.
The gut has to break down different types of food and make sure that each nutrient is being absorbed and is ready to be used. This is a complicated process, but the gut is designed to do a really good job with the help of a healthy gut microbiota which comprises of a higher proportion of friendly bacteria in your baby’s gut.
Some nutrients are complex and cannot be fully digested with the enzymes we produce so the friendly bacteria in the gut (or healthy gut microbiota) can help in the process, breaking down complex nutrients and producing what is called Short-Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs).
Illustration: How your baby's gut digests and absorbs nutrients with the help of healthy gut microbiota
SCFAs serve as an important source of energy (as much as 10% of the body’s needs)16,21,24 and enhance the absorption of calcium and iron which are the building blocks for bones, brain and blood cells.
The friendly bacteria not only help release nutrients by breaking down complex food, but also produce some essential nutrients such as Vitamin B12, K and folate16,21,22 These vitamins are necessary for the proper growth, development and function of many organs in your babies’ bodies.
Hence, while your little one’s diet may contain all the nutrients required for the body, without proper digestion and absorption, these nutrients will not provide the benefits they are meant to.
A healthy gut is crucial in ensuring that the nutrients are broken down into a form that can be easily absorbed by the body and utilised for brain and physical growth.
Mums and dads, are you taking steps to help nurture your children’s healthy guts for their total well-being? For a start, find out if your child has a healthy gut here.
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This article is brought to you by Danone Dumex®.
Danone Dumex® is part of Nutricia, #1 Baby Milk company in Europe^
We have been focusing our scientific and clinical expertise on gut health for the last 40 years. Danone Dumex® is committed to supporting little guts by continuous improvement, to help maintain the overall health and well-being of babies.
^ Danone Nutricia ELN is the first Ranked Milk Formula manufacturer both in Sales Value and Sales Volume for these 9 countries(UK, DE, NL, IRL, PL, BEL, CZE/SLO and ROM) during the MAT period Dec 2015.
Click here for the scientific references on gut health.