Modulating the early-life gut microbiota using pro-, pre-, and synbiotics to improve gut health, child development, and growth

Benjamin Momo Kadia, Mary Iwaret Otiti, Anouschka Ramsteijn, Doudou Sow, Babacar Faye, Claire Heffernan, Lindsay J. Hall, Joanne P. Webster, Alan W. Walker, Stephen Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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In children exposed to poor hygiene and sanitation, invasion of the gut by pathogenic microbes can result in a subclinical enteropathy termed “environmental enteric dysfunction” (EED) that contributes to undernutrition, growth faltering, and impaired organ development. EED may already be present by age 6–12 weeks; therefore, interventions that can be started early in life, and used alongside breastfeeding, are needed to prevent or ameliorate EED. A healthy gut microbiota is critical for intestinal development and repair, nutrient digestion and absorption, and resisting colonization or overgrowth by pathogens. However, its development can be impaired by several environmental factors. Dietary supplementation with pro-, pre-, or synbiotics may be a pragmatic and safe means of building the resilience of the developing gut microbiota against adverse environmental factors, thereby preventing EED. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-247
Number of pages4
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number2
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • environmental enteric dysfunction
  • gut microbiota
  • gut pathogens
  • prebiotics
  • probiotics
  • synbiotics

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