Human breast milk has been known to influence the intensity of oxidative stress in breastfed newborns and infants, and the antioxidant concentration in the milk depends on the mother’s diet and vitamin supplementation during pregnancy and lactation.
Based on this, researchers from the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran sought to assess the effects of lactobacillus probiotic supplementation on the antioxidant capacity of human breast milk.
They conducted a 60-day interventional study involving 50 lactating women divided equally into two groups: one receiving a daily lactobacillus supplement, and the other a placebo.
Each woman’s daily dietary intake and breast milk antioxidant parameters were measured at the beginning, 30-day mark and 60-day mark of the study.
Antioxidants up, oxidative stress down
Subsequently, the researchers observed a “significant increase in breast milk total antioxidant capacity between onset of study and day 30 and day 60 after lactobacillus supplementation”.
Levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), an oxidative stress marker, also progressively decreased in the breast milk of the lactobacillus-supplemented group over the course of the study.
The placebo group, on the other hand, exhibited significantly lower antioxidant levels and higher MDA levels in breast milk after 60 days.
Plateau in supplementation effects?
However, it was also found that the total antioxidant capacity of breast milk in the lactobacillus-supplemented group did not change much between 30 and 60 days into the study.
The researchers attributed this to the subjects’ daily antioxidant intake remaining the same throughout the study, as well as the study duration, and the absence of other antioxidant supplements to accompany the probiotic supplement.
Notably, this study was the first to explore the effects of the duration of lactobacillus supplementation on antioxidant status.
It stated that “60 days of lactobacillus supplementation could significantly increase breast milk total antioxidant capacity and decrease breast milk MDA levels compared with baseline”, but that antioxidant levels in breast milk did not change between 30 and 60 days of supplementation.
As such, it concluded that “further research using higher dosages of bacteria or longer duration of supplementation” was required, and that “more studies are needed to clarify the effect of different doses of synbiotics or probiotics on levels of total antioxidant capacity and MDA in breast milk, and their relationship with maternal blood levels.”
Source: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutirion
“Lactobacillus intake for 60 days favors antioxidant status of human breast milk: an RCT”
Authors: Reza Mahdavi, et al.
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