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Friendly Flora Supplements Essential During Pregnancy & Nursing

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Friendly flora (also known as probiotics or acidophilus) has been found to drastically reduce the rate of gestational diabetes1 during pregnancy, benefiting both mother and child.  This is another study is a rapidly growing body of science showing that your digestive balance of flora has a tremendous impact on obesity, blood pressure, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer risk, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes risk.  This information applies to everyone and is especially important for pregnant and nursing mothers.

The current study involved 256 women who received dietary intervention and a friendly flora supplement starting in the first trimester and continuing until nursing was complete.  Two control groups existed, one with dietary intervention and no friendly flora and the other with no dietary intervention and no friendly flora.

The friendly flora group had only a 13% rate of gestational diabetes.  The dietary intervention group with no friendly flora had a 36% rate and the control group had a 34% rate. 

During pregnancy a mother’s immune system is down-regulated so that it does not reject the fetus as foreign.  The trade of is that existing imbalances within the digestive flora can be magnified as “hostile gangs” of unfriendly bacteria grow out of balance with what is healthy.  These bacterial gangs produce metabolic signals that directly induce insulin resistance.  I have explained how this works in detail in my feature length article, “How Imbalanced Digestive Bacteria Cause Obesity & Heart Disease.”

While this information is applicable to anyone, it is especially important during pregnancy not only for the health of mom but for the future metabolic health of your child.  This is because a mother’s “bacterial signature” is the first immunologic lesson a baby learns as mom’s bacteria begin the colonization of a baby’s digestive system, which is vital to the development of both digestive health, immune system competence, and future metabolic health in that child.

This simple health point is of great importance to the general public health and if we had an FDA that wasn’t criminally corrupt they would immediately be recommending probiotic supplements to all pregnant and nursing women – considering we are trying to combat an obesity epidemic.  Fifty thousand babies a year were born with preventable spinal problems, while the FDA sat for 10 years knowing the problem could be halted with folic acid during pregnancy, simply because the FDA didn’t want to suggest to the public a dietary supplement could prevent disease.  The only reason the FDA ever approved the use of folic acid during pregnancy was because Congressional leaders threatened to haul FDA executives in front of a group of angry mothers so that the FDA could explain to the mothers with injured children why they didn’t tell them they should take folic acid.  The problem of gestational diabetes and future metabolic disease in children is far more prevalent than the problem of neural tube defects. 

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