Probiotics have been linked with improved outcomes in endometriosis, pregnancy, and health outcomes for mother and child before and after birth. Which strains are best? Read on to learn more.
Probiotics & Reproductive Health
Pregnancy and birth are among the most vulnerable processes in the life of both mother and child, and probiotics supplements may support immune function and prevent reproductive dysfunction during this time.
Possibly Effective For
The use of a specific set of probiotics during the first 1,500 days of life may lower the risk of infections and inflammatory events in infants .
L. rhamnosus affected the immune regulation and immune responses favorably in mothers and offspring. In addition, some of the beneficial effects of prenatal L. rhamnosus supplementation extended into postnatal life of the offspring, suggesting a possible immune programming effect of L. rhamnosus .
The intake of milk fermented with L. casei during the lactation period modestly contributed to the modulation of the mother’s immunological response after delivery and decreased the incidence of gastrointestinal episodes in the breastfed child .
B. animalis ssp. lactis mitigated the negative immune-related effects of not breastfeeding and cesarean delivery by augmenting the immune response, evidenced by increased anti-rotavirus- and anti-poliovirus-specific IgA .
L. acidophilus, L. casei and B. bifidum significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose, insulin levels, and insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity in pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus. In addition, significant decreases in serum triglycerides and VLDL cholesterol concentrations were recorded .
Preeclampsia is associated with an impaired antioxidant defense that results in maternofetal complications. S. cerevisiae scavenged nitric oxide radicals and decreased oxidative stress in red blood cells and alleviated stress status in the preeclamptic fetus .
Continuous consumption of fermented milk containing L. casei alleviated constipation-related symptoms, provided satisfactory bowel habit, and resulted in earlier recovery from hemorrhoids in women after childbirth .
Insufficient Evidence For
The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of probiotics for any of the below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking probiotic supplements, and never use it in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.
L. gasseri also inhibited the growth of endometrial tissue in the abdominal cavity in mice and rats .
3) Infant Growth
4) Feeding Tolerance in Infants
Preterm infants supplemented with B. coagulans had improved feeding tolerance .
Orally administered S. boulardii improved feeding tolerance and clinical sepsis in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants .
Animal Research (Lacking Evidence)
No clinical evidence supports the use of probiotics for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
6) Female Fertility
L. plantarum ameliorated inflammation-induced infertility in mice .
L. plantarum reinforced natural microflora and lead to a resurge of fertility in mice infected with E. coli .
Probiotics have produced promising results in a number of clinical trials on pregnancy, birth, and fertility outcomes. When pregnant women took probiotic supplements, both their and their newborn’s health improved before and after parturition: both mother and infant had improved immunity, and newborns had improved microbiota composition.
Animal research suggests that probiotics may also benefit male fertility (by maintaining testosterone production), odds of conception, and oxytocin release (linked with social bonding).
We’ve compiled deep dives into each potential benefit of probiotics. Check them out here: