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J Hum Lact. 2013 Nov;29(4):591-6. doi: 10.1177/0890334413490833. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Effects of synbiotic supplementation on breast milk levels of IgA, TGF-β1, and TGF-β2.

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1Student Research Committee, School of Public Health & Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.



Effects of probiotics on the immunological composition of breast milk have been investigated in a few previous studies.


The aims of this study were to determine the effects of synbiotic (probiotic plus prebiotic) supplementation on immunoglobulin A (IgA), transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), and transforming growth factor β2 (TGF-β2) levels of breast milk and on diarrhea incidence in infants.


In this randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial, we recruited 80 lactating mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding their 3-month-old infants. We randomly divided the mothers into 2 groups to receive a daily synbiotic supplement (n = 40) or a placebo (n = 40) for 30 days. Demographic and clinical data (ie, health status) were obtained through an interview. The IgA levels of breast milk were detected by nephelometry, and the levels of TGF-β1 and TGF-β2 were measured using a commercial Platinum ELISA kit.


The breast milk IgA increased significantly from 0.41 ± 0.09 to 0.48 ± 0.15 g/L in the supplemented group (P = .018), while in the placebo group, no significant changes were observed. Although the breast milk TGF-β1 levels did not change significantly, the TGF-β2 levels of breast milk increased significantly from 270 ± 37.8 to 382 ± 43.7 pg/mL in the supplemented group (P = .043). Also, the incidence of diarrhea in infants decreased significantly in the supplemented group while no significant changes were observed in the placebo group after the experimental period.


Synbiotic supplementation may have positive effects on the immune composition of breast milk and the reduction of diarrhea incidence in infants.


breastfeeding; diarrhea; human milk; immunoglobulin A; synbiotic; transforming growth factor β1; transforming growth factor β2

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