Purpose of review
Gut health is an increasingly popular topic of discussion among scientists and the general population alike. As interest surrounding the gut microbiome grows, the accessibility to misinformation and unfounded gut health trends to youth is likely to emerge as a public health concern. The purpose of this review is to provide paediatricians with current information about the gut microbiome, as well as explanations and possible risks of the multitude of gut health trends that adolescents may be exposed to.
The gut microbiome is implicated in overall health by playing roles in digestion, immunity and mental health. Novel microbiome-related therapies, such as faecal microbiota transplants, and the gut-brain link show the therapeutic potential of the gut microbiome. However, unproven dietary fads and trends on social media are rampant as well, such as ginger juice shots. In addition, paediatric supplements meant to target gut health are unregulated, yet are highly marketed. Improperly applying these trends and diets may result in risks of malnutrition and body image issues for impressionable children.
Increased familiarity regarding the types of gut health trends and diets among young people will allow paediatricians to more effectively advise their patients about potential risks and good gut health practices. Paediatricians and caregivers serve as role models and educators with regard to children's perceptions and management of their gut and overall health.