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Impact of maternal nutritional supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the infant gut or breastmilk microbiota: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Aneesa Z. Zaidi, Sophie E. Moore, Sandra G. Okala

Original languageEnglish
Article number1137
JournalNutrients
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
PublishedApr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

Recent evidence indicates that maternal dietary intake, including dietary supplements, during pregnancy and lactation may alter the infant gut or breastmilk microbiota, with implications for health outcomes in both the mother and infant. To review the effects of maternal nutritional supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the infant gut or breastmilk microbiota a systematic literature search was conducted. A total of 967 studies published until February 2020 were found, 31 were eligible and 29 randomized control trials were included in the qualitative synthesis. There were 23 studies that investigated the effects of probiotic supplementation, with the remaining studies investigating vitamin D, prebiotics or lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS). The effects of maternal nutritional supplementation on the infant gut microbiota or breastmilk microbiota were examined in 21 and 12 studies, respectively. Maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and lactation generally resulted in the probiotic colonization of the infant gut microbiota, and although most studies also reported alterations in the infant gut bacterial loads, there was limited evidence of effects on bacterial diversity. The data available show that maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy or lactation results in probiotic colonization of the breastmilk microbiota. There were no observed effects between probiotic supplementation and breastmilk bacterial counts of healthy women, however, administration of Lactobacillus probiotic to nursing women affected by mastitis was associated with significant reductions in breastmilk Staphylococcal loads. Maternal LNS supplementation during pregnancy and lactation increased bacterial diversity in the infant gut, whilst vitamin D and prebiotic supplementation did not alter either infant gut bacterial diversity or counts. Heterogeneity in study design precludes any firm conclusions on the effects of maternal nutritional supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the infant gut or breastmilk microbiota, warranting further research.

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