Priming for Life: Early Life Nutrition and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis
APC Microbiome Ireland, Biosciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork T12 YT20, Ireland
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Cork T12 YT20, Ireland
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, University College Cork, Cork T12 YT20, Ireland
Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy P61 C996, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cristina Campoy
Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020423
Received: 20 December 2020 / Revised: 21 January 2021 / Accepted: 24 January 2021 / Published: 28 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Nutrition and Re-programming of Health and Disease)
Microbes colonize the human body during the first moments of life and coexist with the host throughout the lifespan. Intestinal microbiota and their metabolites aid in the programming of important bodily systems such as the immune and the central nervous system during critical temporal windows of development, with possible structural and functional implications throughout the lifespan. These critical developmental windows perinatally (during the first 1000 days) are susceptible timepoints for insults that can endure long lasting effects on the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Environmental and parental factors like host genetics, mental health, nutrition, delivery and feeding mode, exposure to antibiotics, immune activation and microbiota composition antenatally, are all factors that are able to modulate the microbiota composition of mother and infant and may thus regulate important bodily functions. Among all these factors, early life nutrition plays a pivotal role in perinatal programming and in the modulation of offspring microbiota from birth throughout lifespan. This review aims to present current data on the impact of early life nutrition and microbiota priming of important bodily systems and all the factors influencing the microbial coexistence with the host during early life development.