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Ann Nutr Metab. 2017;70(2):147-153. doi: 10.1159/000471857. Epub 2017 Apr 8.

Mothers' Consumption of Soy Drink But Not Black Tea Increases the Flavonoid Content of Term Breast Milk: A Pilot Randomized, Controlled Intervention Study.

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Department of Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany.



We performed a pilot RCT to prove the hypothesis that a controlled ingestion of polyphenol-rich beverages (soy drink, decaffeinated black tea) in nutritive dosages by nursing women has an effect on the composition (flavonoid concentration, total antioxidant capacity) of breast milk.


Healthy nursing women were supplemented with either 250 mL of a soy drink (12 mg isoflavones; n = 18), 300 mL decaffeinated black tea (67 mg catechins; n = 18), or 300 mL water (n = 8, control) for 6 days. Milk samples were collected before, during, and after intervention. Flavonoid content (isoflavones/catechins, HPLC) and total antioxidant capacity of milk and test drinks in milk specimens were assessed.


Isoflavone content (genistein and daidzein) in breast milk increased up to 12 nmol/L after soy drink consumption; the major flavonoids constituents of black tea (catechin, epicatechin, and respective conjugates) could not be detected in milk samples. With both interventions, the total antioxidant capacity of breast milk was not affected.


Mothers' daily consumption of a soy drink considerably increases isoflavone content of breast milk resulting in an estimated daily exposure of 9.6 nmol isoflavones in a 4-month-old suckling infant. Luminal flavanol uptake from black tea consumed by the nursing mother may be too low to affect flavanol concentrations in breast milk.


Antoxidant capacity; Breast milk; Flavanols; Isoflavones; Soy; Tea

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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