According to researchers taking probiotics during pregnancy and breast feeding may modify genes related to obesity in both the mother and their infants.
15 pregnant women participated in this double-blinded randomized controlled (RCT) pilot study. 7 of the women were randomly chosen to supplement with a Probiotic which contained 10 Billion of each Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifiobacterium lactis strains of friendly bacteria. The remaining 8 participants were given a placebo. The dosing began on the participants first study visit which occurred while they were pregnant and lasted until the end of an exclusive breast feeding period with a maximum study period of 6 months. Blood samples were taken from the mother’s prior to the commencement of supplementation with the Probiotic and between 6-12 months after the birth of their children. Researchers reviewed the DNA methylation status of 623 obesity related and 433 weight gain related gene promoters, using the Ingenuity Pathway tool, in each blood sample taken.
Researchers found the levels of DNA methylation in some genes known to carry an increased risk for obesity, including the FTO gene the single most influential gene, were decreased in the group taking the Probiotic supplement. The FTO gene has been associated with type II diabetes, obesity risk and body mass index. Suggesting that Probiotic supplementation during pregnancy may have more applications beyond obesity, researchers found Probiotics had effects on the DNA methylation levels of genes involved with immunological and metabolic processes. Further studies are needed.
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