A new, unpublished, preliminary study found evidence that Lactobacilli and other microorganisms may be transferred from mothers to the placenta and the fetal intestinal tract during pregnancy. In addition, the researchers said they believe that the fetal intestine is not sterile but rather already populated with microorganisms. Lallemand Health Solutions (Montreal) funded the animal study, which was conducted by the University of Toronto (Toronto) and presented at the Canadian Nutrition Society’s (CNS) annual conference in May.
In this study, the researchers sought to establish the presence of Lallemand’s proprietary Lacidofil strain (a combination of L. rhamnosus Rosell -11 and L. helveticus Rosell -52) in the digestive tracts of the fetuses of the mothers fed with the probiotic preparation.
According to the company, Lacidofil strains were detected in the placenta and large intestine of fetuses of mothers who took the probiotic supplement during pregnancy. The research was conducted in pathogen-free mice. The study authors said more research should be done to confirm these preliminary findings.
In addition, the researchers suggest that the fetus is not sterile during pregnancy. During the CNS conference, study author Ashkan Hashemi explained: “Our results are in line with recent literature, as we found bacterial DNA in the placenta and umbilical cord. In addition, we suggest that the fetal intestine is not sterile, and Lactobacilli appear to be a predominant genus in this compartment. Interestingly, when the mother received probiotic Lacidofil during gestation, the probiotic strains were found in the placenta and large intestine of the fetus. This is our first study, and it is imperative that findings are confirmed by follow-up research before major conclusions can be drawn. Though, these are exciting data for us to build on.”