Background: After delivery and birth, mothers and neonates are exposed to oxidative stress. We tested whether supplementing the diet of breastfeeding mothers with non-alcoholic beer, a product rich in antioxidants, could improve their oxidative status and the antioxidant content of their milk. A prospective trial begun on Day 2 postpartum was conducted in mother-infant dyads.
Subjects and methods: Sixty breastfeeding mothers and their infants were allocated to either a control group (n=30) on a free diet or a study group (n=30) on a free diet supplemented with 660 mL of non-alcoholic beer/day. The oxidative status of the mothers' breastmilk, plasma, and urine and the infant's urine was analyzed on Days 2 and 30 postpartum. The before-after difference was compared within and between the groups.
Results: The increase in antioxidant capacity and coenzyme Q10 content in the breastmilk of the study group at Day 30 was higher than in that of the control group (p<0.001). There was also a change in the oxidative status of the mothers' plasma in the supplemented group regarding the control group; higher values of total antioxidant capacity (p<0.05) and lower levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (p<0.05), indicative of DNA oxidative damage, were found. These results indicate a positive effect of non-alcoholic beer supplementation on oxidative stress in mothers. However, no difference in oxidant markers was found in the infant's urine.
Conclusions: The consumption of non-alcoholic beer appears to enhance the antioxidant capacity of breastmilk and decrease oxidative damage in breastfeeding mothers.