Breast Milk Contains Bacteria Fungi & Yeast Beneficial To Infant Health While previous studies have demonstrated that human breast milk contains bacteria, new research shows it also contains fungi. Researchers are now confident that certain fungi and bacteria are beneficial to babies’ health. Growing infants obviously derive health benefits from the yeasts, fungi, and bacteria present in their mothers’ breast milk.
The study was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Beyond the health benefits conferred by fungi, yeast, and bacteria to young babies, researchers are also confident that breast milk introduces fungi and bacteria to the guts of infants. To scientists, this means breast milk contains a community of various organisms (microbiome or mycobiota) under healthy conditions.
Healthy Women Everywhere Have Beneficial Fungi, Yeast, and Bacteria in Their Breast Milk
The researchers first established the presence of yeast, fungi, and bacteria in the breast milk of mothers in Spain. So they sampled the breast milk of mothers from Finland, China, and South Africa among others. They found the same to be true: breast milk contains yeasts and other fungi not minding the geographical location, weather, diets, and lifestyles of mothers.
Breast Milk Contains Bacteria Fungi & Yeast Beneficial To Infant Health
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But then, the levels of fungi are not evenly distributed across women from all over the world. South African and Spanish mothers have 70% of fungi in their breast milk, while those in China have 45% and those in Finland have 35%.
The most common fungi found in the breast milk of women across the continents are Malassezia, Davidiella, Sistotrema, and Penicillium among others. Malassezia is usually found in the sebaceous glands which lubricate the skin and hair; Davidiella is found in the woman’s vagina, and Saccharomyces are found both in the human guts as well as in breast milk.
Yeast and Fungi in Breast Milk to Be Extracted To Develop Medications for Wellness
The researchers went further to compare the number of organisms in the breast milk of mothers who delivered naturally against those who delivered via Cesarean section. Those that delivered vaginally have more fungi Cryptococcus in their milk, but the extent of fungal richness and diversity remains largely the same in both classes of women.
Having suggested that fungi are introduced to babies’ guts via breast milk, the scientists are quick to note that the “development of mycobiota in infants” requires further research.
Considering that Saccharomyces boulardii among other yeast species are used for probiotics developed to promote infant health, other types may be beneficial for general human health. The researchers are working on isolating strains of beneficial fungi, yeast, and bacteria from breast milk to develop medications useful for human wellness.