Washington: New mothers, please take note! A new study found that breastfed babies who receive probiotic supplements for three weeks improve their intestinal health, which protects the baby from diabetes and some cancers.
The study is the first to show that a combination of breast milk and probiotic body can lead to lasting changes in the gut microbiome, said lead author Mark Underwood. "Although we stopped administering the probiotic on day 28 of life, the particular organisms that we gave were kept in their fecal community for 60 days or even more," he added.
The researchers explained that B. infantis would match well with the sugars in breast milk to shape the gut microbiota. Disruption of the microbiota, particularly early in life, can increase the risk of many diseases inside and outside the intestine, including diabetes, allergies and asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and some cancers, says Underwood.
According to the University of California, Davis's breast milk can help maintain those colonies in the long term, researchers say. The team recruited 66 breastfeeding mothers.
In the first group, 34 mothers fed their newborns with a three-week cycle of Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis EVC001, a probiotic supplement. In the other group, the mothers did not administer probiotics.
Analysis of fecal samples from babies, collected during the first 60 days of life, revealed marked differences. The findings indicated that genetic sequence, PCR analysis and mass spectrometry revealed larger populations of B. infantis, which improves intestinal health in newborns who received supplements than in children who did not.
Those colonies persisted for at least 30 days after the end of supplementation, suggesting that the changes were lasting, the researchers say. The researchers' next plan is to study how the combination of breast milk and probiotics affects the intestinal health of premature babies, who have an increased risk of dysbiosis.