Prebiotic Fibre Alters Mother Milk and Offspring Gut Bacteria in RatsWednesday, July 30, 2014
With all the attention to the role of gut microbiota and the ongoing debate as to the role of breast feeding in obesity prevention, a study by Raylene Reimer and colleagues from the University of Calgary adds an interesting spin.
Their study, now published in OBESITY shows that feeding female rat a diet high in prebiotic fibre (21.6% wt/wt) throughout pregnancy and lactation, compared to a control or high-protien (40% wt/wt) diet, results in a lower oligosaccharide content of the milk with a higher content of bifidobacteria in the offspring.
Although this did not lead to any marked differences in body composition or other metabolic parameters, the study proves the point that (at least in rats) maternal diet can affect the composition of gut bacteria in the offspring (which may or may not have metabolic benefits).
There is no reason to believe that in humans maternal nutrition may well impart a similar influence via breast feeding on the microbiota of infants.
This certainly sounds like a promising field for future research.
Hallam MC, Barile D, Meyrand M, German JB, & Reimer RA (2014). Maternal high protein or prebiotic fiber diets affect maternal milk composition and gut microbiota in rat dams and their offspring. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) PMID: 25056822