New research may help explain why millions of malnourished children suffer from stunted growth and fail to thrive after treatment with nutrient-rich therapeutic foods.
Studying healthy and malnourished young children in Bangladesh, a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that malnutrition has persistent detrimental effects on the vast community of microbes living in the gut. These “friendly” microbes typically aid in extracting nutrients and calories from food, and perform many other vital functions.
The study’s results suggest that the long-term consequences of childhood malnutrition, such as stunted growth, cognitive problems and weakened immune systems, may be rooted in lingering, underdeveloped collections of gut microbes that can’t fully harvest energy and calories from food, said the study’s senior author, Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, director of Washington University’s Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology.
Read the full story in The Source: Lingering problem found in gut microbe communities of malnourished children