Poor gut microflora is an open invitation to illness. In previous blog we discussed how gut flora is so important for a kid. Hence parents these days must know the factors which impact gut flora adversely. Also they should know how to build on gut flora of their kids for good. Let’s find out these factors here. in

What is gut microflora ? How bacteria are distributed here?


Gut means food pipe in lay man’s language. Good bacteria present in a human gut are termed as gut microflora. They are imperative for a healthy life. But where exactly in gut, these bacteria are placed ?


Numbers of gut bacteria goes up in the same order. 



Stomach and initial portion of small intestine have gastric acid, bile acid, pancreatic enzymes etc. that is not suitable for bacteria to proliferate. Thus these parts of gut have thin gut flora. 

Esophagus, stomach and initial part of small intestine have fewer gut bacteria. As we know that acid is enemy to nearly all bacteria. That’s the reason why food is preserved in acids like vinegar and citric acid ( lemon juice ). The same concept is applied here. 

Later part of small intestine has decent bacterial flora. The part of gut that owns most dense microbiome is large intestine. It is owing to surplus food, minimum motility and favorable pH for growth of bacteria. 


What are factors that impact gut flora ?

Here are the factors that can influence gut flora greatly. 

1.Mode of delivery

If a child is born by normal vaginal delivery, then it will acquire microflora from mother’s birth canal during delivery. However if a baby is delivered by caesarean section then its flora resembles skin flora. 

2.Maternal microflora

A child’s microflora depends on microbiota composition of respective mother. This is quite self-evident. 


Microflora of a baby depends on the gestation age at which a baby is delivered. A baby delivered on time ( term ) has different set of gut flora compared to a child birthed before time ( preterm or premature ).

4.Geographic location

Gut flora of kids from various region of world is studied in detail. Evidently composition of gut flora of kids from Asian countries is unrelated to that of African or European countries. Likewise temperate climate will harbour separate set of microbiome than tropical ones.

5.Breast milk vs formula

Babies get exposed to bacteria while feeding on breast milk. On day one and two they acquire initial set of bacteria, which are not as great in number. Later as feeding continues they procure more and more bacteria. Babies on formula milk get a dissimilar set of microbes as to breast fed babies. 

From last couple of decades there is a shift towards caesarean section than normal delivery. Also more kids are fed on formula than breast milk. Consequently there is a transition in composition of gut microbiota too. 


Once a child starts to take foods other than mother’s milk ( complementary feed ), it will encounter numerous bacteria. What complementary food is given to a child and when it is introduced affects gut flora big-time. 

7.Environment exposure

The environment in which a child is brought up and the kind of microbes it comes in contact with impacts gut microbes as well. A child raised in rural and in urban areas inhabits separate set of organisms. 


Stress impacts gut flora negatively. Chronic stress depletes gut microbiota. Thus it leads to irritable bowel syndrome with symptoms like indigestion, excess gas formation etc. Hence avoid chronic stress for a child so as to conserve bacterial flora. 


Illness too afflicts friendly microbes of gut in an undesirable way. 


As discussed earlier in this post, bacteria usually can not sustain in acidic environment. That’s the reason why a person has more gut bacteria in intestine than in stomach. 


Every child has its own unique set of genes. Gene of a child shapes its intestinal flora as well. 


What is a prebiotic? A prebiotic is nothing but food for resident flora of gut. When a child is given prebiotic, gut bacteria consume it and proliferate. 

Some examples of natural prebiotics are garlic, onion, whole grain, banana etc. 


If you visit a paediatrician for loose motion in your child, doctor might prescribe probiotic preparations. These preparations have very same microbes as in human alimentary canal.

Natural sources of probiotics are fermented foods like curd, cheese etc. Probiotics replenish gut microbiome. 


Antibiotics are recommended for only bacterial infection. However rampant use of antibiotics impede beneficial bacteria in gut. It’s more so during infancy and newborn period of a child. 

15.Excess hygiene and soap sanitiser use

A basic level of hygiene is crucial for babies, especially in initial few months of life. But overboard use of soap and sanitizer use leads to poor gut flora in kids.


More and more researches are going on gut flora. I hope in future we will have more articulate knowledge on how to utilise gut flora to the maximum.


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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