Research Insight – Probiotics Found To Provide Breast Relief

Lactational mastitis is a common condition affecting up to 20% of breast feeding women in the first six months postpartum, with the highest incidence occurring in the second or third week following child birth.probiotic-breast-releif

Lactational mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn’t cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed and lead to infection.

Conventional treatment includes rest, physical therapy (eg. regular breast drainage, heat and cold application) and may involve antibiotic treatment which, of course, is not optimal for the long term health of the mother or baby.

Fortunately, new thinking has led researchers to investigate the effect of dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance), similar to that which occurs in the intestinal and vaginal ecosystems, on lactational mastitis.


Research Findings 

Researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid analysed the bacterial diversity of breast milk in 20 women suffering from lactational mastitis. Staphylococcus epidermis, a bacteria with the propensity to cause chronic and recurrent infections, was the dominant species found in 85% of samples, suggesting S. epidermidis is a widely under-recognised cause of infectious mastitis.

Researchers also found that although lactic acid bacteria DNA was present, the strains could not be isolated, leading them to suggest that these beneficial bacteria were initially found in the breast milk but were no longer viable due to an overgrowth of mastitis-causing bacteria.

The authors concluded that lactational mastitis may be due to dysbiosis with an overgrowth of certain bacteria (e.g. staphylococci) and a reduction in the number of other beneficial bacteria (e.g. lactobacilli).

Following on from this study, the same researchers investigated the use of probiotics versus antibiotics in the treatment of infectious mastitis.

A total of 352 women were randomly assigned into three groups to receive either Lactobacillus fermentum, L. salivarius or antibiotics for three weeks. These particular strains were chosen for their origin, safety, anti-infectious and immunomodulatory properties.

At day 0 lactobacilli (beneficial bacteria) could not be detected in any of the 352 samples. By day 21, levels of previously dominant bacterial species (S. epidermidis, S. aureus, Streptococcus mitis) were reduced in all three groups, with those in the probiotic groups experiencing the greatest reduction.

In addition, by this time lactobacilli was detected in the milk of over half the women in the probiotic groups, but could not be detected in any of the women receiving antibiotics.


The women receiving the probiotics improved to a greater degree, with more than 85% experiencing a complete recovery from lactational mastitis.

They also had a significantly lower rate of mastitis recurrence, vaginal candidiasis and were more likely to continue breastfeeding.


Supplement Recommendations

Emed recommends UltraBiotic Pregnancy Care for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

It is an innovative, high dose, broad spectrum probiotic blend, formulated in line with ground-breaking research showing reduction in risk of maternal genitourinary infections, mastitis, allergies and GIT disturbances, as well as improving infant immune defenses and decreasing infant atopic eczema.

For the health of your baby, BioCeuticals BabyBiotic 0+yrs® is a dairy-free probiotic supplement specifically designed to nurture healthy digestive health in neonates, infants and children.

It may assist in the management of allergies, provide relief from the symptoms of eczema and strengthen gastrointestinal immunity.


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