`Consuming EVOO Results in More Polyphenols in Breast Milk, Study Finds - Olive Oil Times

Consuming EVOO Results in More Polyphenols in Breast Milk, Study Finds

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jul. 13, 2022 18:03 UTC

Diets incor­po­rat­ing extra vir­gin olive oil may increase the phe­no­lic con­tent of breast milk, pass­ing on poten­tial health ben­e­fits to the infant, the results of a new study sug­gest.

Published in Food Chemistry by a team of Spanish researchers, the study is report­edly the first to eval­u­ate the pos­si­ble ver­ti­cal trans­mis­sion of polyphe­nols to the off­spring of lab­o­ra­tory rats fed extra vir­gin olive oil dur­ing preg­nancy and lac­ta­tion.

The study’s results demon­strate that enzy­matic and micro­bial metabo­lites of hydrox­y­ty­rosol were detected in the plasma of the mother and off­spring and the lac­tic serum.

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Hydroxytyrosol is a phe­no­lic com­pound and pow­er­ful antiox­i­dant. Its reg­u­lar con­sump­tion has been asso­ci­ated with anti-inflam­ma­tory and anti-can­cer prop­er­ties, but it can also exert a role in pre­vent­ing eye and skin con­di­tions.

The sci­en­tists said breast milk con­tents might vary con­sid­er­ably dur­ing the lac­ta­tion period. While approx­i­mately 87 per­cent of breast milk is water, the remain­ing 13 per­cent includes hor­mones, enzymes, immune fac­tors and ben­e­fi­cial microor­gan­isms.

Previously, researchers found that fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet can affect the lipid com­po­si­tion of breast milk due to the unsat­u­rated fats of extra vir­gin olive oil. In addi­tion, the study’s authors noted olive oil con­sump­tion dur­ing preg­nancy has proven ben­e­fi­cial for pre­vent­ing wheez­ing in early child­hood.

Using lab rats, the researchers hypoth­e­sized that there might be a direct con­nec­tion between a mother’s olive oil con­sump­tion and an infan­t’s health.

The con­cen­tra­tion and num­ber of hydrox­y­ty­rosol deriv­a­tives were higher than those of tyrosol, and the micro­bial metabo­lites were found in the high­est con­cen­tra­tion,” the researchers wrote.

The observed ver­ti­cal trans­mis­sion of extra vir­gin olive oil phe­no­lic com­pounds, whose health ben­e­fits are widely reported, pro­vides fur­ther sup­port for the impor­tance of the mater­nal diet dur­ing preg­nancy and lac­ta­tion,” they added.

The results con­firm ear­lier obser­va­tions and research into the ben­e­fits of fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet and extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion on new­borns.

A diet rich in monoun­sat­u­rated fats dur­ing the pre­na­tal period makes the brain more plas­tic, more dynamic and there­fore, prob­a­bly, more resis­tant to any neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal stresses in adult life,” Marco Andrea Riva, a neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist at the University of Milan, told Olive Oil Times in a 2015 inter­view.

Other stud­ies have shown a pos­si­ble con­nec­tion between fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet dur­ing preg­nancy and reduc­ing the risk of new­borns devel­op­ing obe­sity.

According to other stud­ies, the same diet could also pro­tect infants from the Small for Gestational Age con­di­tion, a lead­ing cause of mor­tal­ity among new­borns. In addi­tion, olive oil con­sump­tion has also been found ben­e­fi­cial for chil­dren born with low birth­weight.

Several pre­vi­ous stud­ies sug­gested that extra vir­gin olive oil may be used as a dietary sup­ple­ment for new­borns unable to drink breast milk due to its con­tent of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and its role in absorb­ing vit­a­min D.


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