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Microbiome Influences Nutrition, Growth Status, Studies Show; Better Understanding Could Lead To New Therapies, Food Supplements

Agence France-Presse: Some gut microbes protect against malnutrition’s harms
“Certain gut microbes may encourage normal growth in children who suffer from chronic malnutrition, and could lead to a therapy for millions of underfed kids worldwide, researchers said Thursday…” (2/18).

The Atlantic: How Microbes Make Malnutrition Worse
“…Together, these studies illustrate the big themes in microbiome research: how influential our microscopic companions are; how much potential there is for improving our health by manipulating them; and how carefully we must proceed in doing so” (Yong, 2/18).

Washington Post: Could the right bacteria help save children from malnutrition?
“A trio of new studies suggest that the bacteria living in children’s guts could play a vital role in protecting them from malnutrition — the leading cause of death before age five — and in allowing them to benefit from consuming breast milk. Scientists haven’t yet found a microbial quick-fix to save undernourished kids, but their work could lead to more effective treatments…” (Feltman, 2/19).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.