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Malnutrition and gut microbiota in children

Iddrisu, I., Monteagudo-Mera, A., Poveda, C., Pyle, S., Shahzad, M. ORCID:, Andrews, S. ORCID: and Walton, G. E. ORCID: (2021) Malnutrition and gut microbiota in children. Nutrients, 13 (8). 2727. ISSN 2072-6643

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/nu13082727


Malnutrition continues to threaten the lives of millions across the world, with children being hardest hit. Although inadequate access to food and infectious disease are the primary causes of childhood malnutrition, the gut microbiota may also contribute. This review considers the evidence on the role of diet in modifying the gut microbiota, and how the microbiota impacts childhood malnutrition. It is widely understood that the gut microbiota of children is influenced by diet, which, in turn, can impact child nutritional status. Additionally, diarrhoea, a major contributor to malnutrition, is induced by pathogenic elements of the gut microbiota. Diarrhoea leads to malabsorption of essential nutrients and reduced energy availability resulting in weight loss, which can lead to malnutrition. Alterations in gut microbiota of severe acute malnourished (SAM) children include increased Proteobacteria and decreased Bacteroides levels. Additionally, the gut microbiota of SAM children exhibits lower relative diversity compared with healthy children. Thus, the data indicate a link between gut microbiota and malnutrition in children, suggesting that treatment of childhood malnutrition should include measures that support a healthy gut microbiota. This could be of particular relevance in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where prevalence of malnutrition remains a major threat to the lives of millions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:99710
Uncontrolled Keywords:severe acute malnutrition, gut microbiota, children, infants, breastfeeding, diet


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