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

Leila Nikniaz, Alireza Ostadrahimi*, Reza Mahdavi, Mohammad amin Hejazi, Ghasem Hosseini Salekdeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


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

Objectives: 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. 

Methods: 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. 

Results: 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. 

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

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


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


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