Breastfeeding, allergy protection and probiotics

The protection against allergies that children derive from breastmilk varies depending on the mother's own allergies and whether she takes probiotic supplements, research suggests

Researchers from Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland found mothers with allergies had higher levels of antibodies to cow's milk proteins and lower levels of inflammatory factors in their breastmilk. In contrast, mothers who took probiotic supplements in the four weeks before delivery saw these factors reversed.

However, researchers said the lack of a 'strong and consistent' link between allergy protection in young children and the effects of probiotics on breastmilk meant these factors 'do not seem to mediate the allergy-preventive effect of probiotics'.
Kuitunen M, Kukkonen AK, Savilahti E. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2012; 159: 162-70

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