Previous studies have shown that probiotic supplementation among women during pregnancy and lactation can modulate breast milk composition, with immune benefits being transferred to their infants.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of high-dose probiotic supplementation in women during late pregnancy and lactation on cytokine profile and secretory IgA (sIgA) in breast milk, and thus to study if differences in breast milk composition can affect lactoferrin and sIgA levels in stool samples of newborns. The safety of maternal probiotic administration on neonatal growth patterns and gastrointestinal symptoms were also evaluated.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 66 women took either the probiotic (n = 33) or a placebo (n = 33) daily. Levels of interleukins (IL-6, IL-10 and IL-1β), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), and sIgA in breast milk, as well as the level of sIgA and lactoferrin in newborn stool samples were analyzed at birth and then again at one month of life. Anthropometric evaluation and analysis of gastrointestinal events in newborns was also performed.
A high-concentration multi-strain probiotic supplement was used, consisting of packets containing 900 billion viable lyophilized bacteria of four different strains of lactobacilli, three strains of bifidobacteria, and one strain of Streptococcus thermophilus DSM 24731, produced at Danisco-Dupont, and currently sold in Continental Europe and the U.S. under the brands Vivomixx and Visbiome, respectively.
Study results indicated probiotic maternal consumption had a significant impact on IL6 mean values in colostrum and on IL10 and TGF-β1 mean values in mature breast milk. Fecal sIgA mean values were higher in newborns whose mothers took the probiotic product than in the control group. Probiotic maternal supplementation seems to decrease incidence of infantile colic and regurgitation in infants, researchers said.
They concluded that high-dose multi-strain probiotic administration in women during pregnancy influences breast milk cytokine patterns and sIgA production in newborns, and seems to improve gastrointestinal functional symptoms in infants.