Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and bovine milk derived oligosaccharides (MOS) are bioactive components in infant nutrition that have been clinically demonstrated to have favorable gut microbiome modulating effects as well as beneficial effects on gastrointestinal related immunity.
The Baby Connectome Project (BCP) and the BCP-Enriched studies investigate brain development trajectories in the first years of life and influencing factors such as nutrition, sleep and gut microbiota.
The social–microbiome axis is an emerging concept. The concomitant development and interaction of the two systems may provide a strategy for developing novel solutions for supporting the brain-gut axis.
Executive functions (inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility) develop in children as an interplay of brain maturation, including myelination, and external environmental factors (e.g. nutrition, stimulation).
Social skills emerge in infancy and develop during childhood when social interactions grow exponentially. They mature alongside brain changes in areas that process social information, the social brain.
Diet, environment and microbiota in infancy are factors that can support gut barrier function and immune development. Studies show that nutrition interventions, particularly breastfeeding and human milk oligosaccharides, may influence the development of a normal microbiome.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are common in children. The gut–brain axis plays an integral role in the development of FGIDs. We will review early life factors and discuss how this can be applied to the diagnosis and management of FGIDs.
Scientific advances have enabled a better understanding of some of the unique components in human milk, termed ‘bioactives’, which are thought to protect against infection and inflammation, and contribute to immune maturation and healthy microbial colonisation.