Every day I tell patients that we are living through the fourth great revolution in medicine. The first three revolutions had to do with killing the fairly small number of viruses, fungi, and bacteria that harm us (pathogens). In 1796 Dr. Edward Jenner tested the first ever vaccine against smallpox, learning that our own immune systems could be taught to destroy deadly invaders. Second, in 1865 Joseph Lister found that carbolic acid could prevent bacteria from causing deadly wound infections, opening the door to modern surgery. Finally, in 1928 Alexander Fleming isolated penicillin, discovering that previously life-threatening infections could be treated with a natural compound.
The fourth revolution, however, is just starting, and it has to do with how we interact with the trillions of microorganisms that live within us and help keep us healthy. It turns out that our bodies contain 3 times as many bacterial cells as human ones! These bacteria, along with fungi, viruses, and other types of microorganisms help digest our food, strengthen our immune systems, and compete with pathogens for space and nutrients. That’s why I was so excited to partner with Evivo to help parents understand how they are on the forefront of this revolution.
It turns out that that some of the lifesaving advances we’ve made in delivering babies, such as cesarean deliveries and antibiotic use, have had an unintended consequence over time: newborns are deprived of some of the good bacteria that they need to build healthy intestines, specifically Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (B. infantis for short). We know this by charting the pH of babies’ poop (I know, gross) over decades. A hundred years ago the pH was low, a finding associated with healthier stools and less diaper rash and, coincidentally, with a healthy colonization of B. infantis. Today 9 out of 10 babies are missing this bacteria.
Why do we care? Good bacteria (probiotics) like B. infantis line the intestines and produce substances that fight inflammation and crowd out pathogens like E. coli, Clostridium difficile, Staphyloccocus aureus, and some Streptococcus species. Studies show that probiotics may prevent asthma in children, fight antibiotic associated diarrhea, and even affect mood and behavior! Babies with more B. infantis in their intestines even had lower levels of endotoxin, a compound generated by some bacteria that causes inflammation. Babies also had fewer and better formed stools (I spend a lot of my day talking about baby poop).
What, then, has Evivo done that’s so special? They have activated and packaged a form of B. infantis that we now know can survive the trip through the stomach and take up residence in the colon, successfully establishing a colony of healthy bacteria. Breast milk helps: human milk includes H.M.O’s or Human Milk Oligosaccharides that infants cannot digest…but B. infantis can. The interaction between breast feeding and Evivo creates a unique environment to foster gut health and therefore overall health. Based on these data, one can say that 9 out of 10 babies need Evivo, the only probiotic clinically proven to restore B. infantis while reducing potentially harmful bacteria in the baby’s gut by 80%.
I look forward to spending the rest of my career learning where this revolution leads. Researchers are looking at how to restore healthy intestinal bacteria to fight everything from Crohn disease to cancer. Right now, however, parents of newborns can take advantage of one of the most impressive early steps by using Evivo.
This post was written in partnership with Evivo. All opinions are my own. Interested in purchasing Evivo? Use my codes below!
$10 off 4 week starter kit: HCP410
$20 off 8 week of greater starter kit: HCP420
Code is valid through 6/30/18 and is active for the first 500 respondents for each code