Breastmilk sugars differ in pregnant women on probiotics

January 22, 2019

The complex sugars found in human breastmilk, long believed to be fixed in their composition, may change in women who are taking probiotics, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

The finding, published in a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics, upends what scientists thought of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) -- the sugar molecules found exclusively in human breast milk -- and could lead to future studies on how the compounds can be potentially influenced by diet and other factors.

Though HMOs are indigestible for a newborn child, they are consumed by certain species in the microbiome and can significantly affect its composition. As a result, scientists have begun focusing on HMOs as a possible reason that infants who consume breastmilk are less likely to get certain viral and bacterial infections, and other severe conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis, along with allergic diseases like food allergy.

"HMOs were thought to be genetically determined, almost like your blood type," said Antti Seppo, Ph.D., research associate professor of Pediatric Allergy/Immunology at URMC and the letter's lead author. "But this data shows you can manipulate the HMOs by external factors."

"We thought the interaction between HMOs and the microbiome was a one-way street, with HMOs shaping microbial communities by acting as prebiotics," said Lars Bode, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, who co-authored the letter. "Here, we have the first example suggesting that maternal dietary microbes, in the form of probiotics, shape HMO compositions."

The study analyzed data from 81 pregnant women who were enrolled in a probiotic supplementation study in Finland. The researchers then compared 20 different HMOs in the two groups of women -- those taking probiotics and those that were not.

Future studies could potentially look at the effect of specific types of probiotics and food groups on specific HMOs, allowing for customization and clinical application tailored to optimize HMO composition in a disease specific way.

"Because HMOs may be linked to development of food allergies in an infant, manipulating HMO composition favorably could open up a new avenue for prevention of food allergies," said Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy/Immunology at URMC and senior co-author on the paper.
-end-
Other co-authors included Anna K. Kukkonen, M.D., Ph.D.; Mikael Kuitunen, M.D., Ph.D.; Erkki Savilahti, M.D., Ph.D.; and Chloe Yonemitsu, B.S.

University of Rochester Medical Center

Related Probiotics Articles from Brightsurf:

Probiotics may help manage childhood obesity
Probiotics may help children and adolescents with obesity lose weight when taken alongside a calorie-controlled diet, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020.

Which bacteria truly qualify as probiotics?
Today, the word probiotic is used to describe all kinds of 'good' microorganisms in foods and supplements.

AGA does not recommend the use of probiotics for most digestive conditions
After a detailed review of available literature, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has released new clinical guidelines finding that for most digestive conditions there is not enough evidence to support the use of probiotics.

Probiotics may help treat acne
Acne is caused by chronic inflammation and is often treated with antibiotics.

Beware probiotics in ICU patients
A collaborative study published in Nature Medicine sounds a note of caution in using probiotics in the ICU.

Using probiotics to protect honey bees against fatal disease
A group of researchers at Western and Lawson combined their expertise in probiotics and bee biology to supplement honey bee food with probiotics, in the form a BioPatty, in their experimental apiaries.

Scientists revealed how probiotics influence human gut bacteria
A group of researchers from ITMO University and Knomics company studied how gut microbiota of 150 volunteers changed after a month of regular consumption of yogurt fortified with probiotics.

Breastmilk sugars differ in pregnant women on probiotics
The complex sugars found in human breastmilk, long believed to be fixed in their composition, may change in women who are taking probiotics, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder
About 3 million people in the US are diagnosed every year with bipolar disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by dramatic shifts in mood from depression to mania.

Probiotics no help to young kids with stomach virus
A major US study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Read More: Probiotics News and Probiotics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.