Human breast milk protects infants against Giardia infection

A study published in the Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences examined the effects of human breast milk on Giardia infection or giardiasis. In addition, the study also determined cytokine levels passed on to babies through breast milk.

  • About 50 mother-and-infant pairs from several hospitals were recruited for the study. Of the babies involved, there were 25 breastfed and 25 non-breastfed babies.
  • Stool samples were collected from the mothers and infants to confirm potential giardiasis cases. Moreover, milk samples from breastfeeding mothers and serum specimens from all infants were also gathered for cytokine level detection.
  • Of the 50 infants, around six cases of giardiasis were uncovered in the non-breastfed group. Two of the six infants in the non-breastfed group exhibited signs of moderate giardiasis (fever and/or vomiting); the four other infants suffered from severe giardiasis (fever, vomiting, and dehydration). By contrast, two asymptomatic cases of giardiasis were found in the breastfed group.
  • All serum samples showed detectable levels of cytokines, though those from the breastfed group were higher than the non-breastfed group. The researchers further noted that comparisons between cytokine levels in the mothers’ milk and infant sera samples demonstrated positive correlations and similar patterns. This, the researchers stated, was indicative of immunity transferring from the mothers to their babies.
  • In particular, they observed significant levels of interleukin 10 or IL-10 in the sera of breastfed infants. Elevated IL-10 levels corresponded with the reduced presence of interferon gamma, a pro-inflammatory cytokine.
  • The aforementioned relationship between IL-10 and interferon gamma appeared to result in the absence of Giardia lamblia, the parasite responsible for giardiasis.

Thus, the researchers came to the conclusion that breast milk provides protection against giardiasis and plays a key role in the development of infants’ immune systems.

To read the complete text of the study, visit this link.

For additional studies about the benefits of breastfeeding, go to today.

Journal Reference:

El-Adawy AI, Abdel Aziz IZA, Abd El-Aal AA, Elmallawany MA, Nahnoush R, El-Guindy NM, Darwish RK, El-Taweel AA, Surna NM. MATERNAL MILK CYTOKINES: POTENTIAL IMMUNO-MODULATORY ROLE IN INFANT GIARDIA INFECTION. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 207AD;11(2):151–158.

comments powered by Disqus