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“They promote obesity and autoimmune diseases”

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“They promote obesity and autoimmune diseases”

«A child raised in a context of stress is more likely to develop pathologies in adulthood. This has been super proven. In the stress condition I would put many things: be it a life stress like two parents arguing a lot, a depressed father or mother. An abusive father and mother. Is an excess of antibiotics when you are little, they are all conditions that the child perceives as danger and uses the microbiota to take genes that can protect him. In the first 5-6 years of life, the child is adapting to life».

To affirm it is Antonio Gasbarriniprofessor of Internal Medicine at the Catholic University and director of the Digestive System Disease Center of the Gemelli Polyclinic Foundation.

The role of the microbiota

At the center of his studies is the microbiota, a real organ present within the digestive system, whose formation in childhood would be able to influence the health of the small adult. «It is a hot topic in medicine – he says – We are talking about the bacteria that live in our colon and have a very important function, the first is to educate the immune system and in some way they have a huge role in the individual’s metabolism. The data is so strong that when you tried to transplant the microbiota from humans to animal models, you could replicate the diseases.”

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«The microbiota enters into all pathologies of the organism»

«The incredible thing – he continues – is that we take this variable genome from the outside. And there is a very important window of life which is the first three years of life in which the child is colonized by everything that happens outside and this colonization can also be determined by moments of stress. If the child grows up in a context of physical violence, the microbiota changes and adapts to that life condition, resulting in an increase in inflammation and that microbiota will keep the child company for life.

But what diseases are we talking about? «The microbiota enters into all pathologies of the organism. It has an enormous role in autoimmune diseases and also in neoplastic diseases it has been demonstrated that there is a role of some bacteria both in the development of tumors but also in the response to new chemo and immunotherapies”.

“This is an ongoing revolution that affects all areas of medicine,” concludes the professor.

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