Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Alcohol consumption disrupts breastfeeding hormones

06.04.2005


Contrary to popular belief, a ’few drinks’ do not promote optimal lactation



Despite age-old claims advising breastfeeding moms that alcoholic beverages can improve their nursing performance, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center report that even moderate doses of alcohol affect the hormones responsible for lactation in a counterproductive manner.

"This information is important for women," comments lead author Julie Mennella, PhD, a biopsychologist. "If a mother is drinking alcohol just to improve the quality or quantity of her milk, she needs to know that there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, what happens is quite the opposite, as alcohol disrupts the hormonal milieu of lactation in a way that could impede successful breastfeeding."


For centuries, breastfeeding women have been advised to drink alcohol as an aid to milk production and optimal lactation. Recent surveys indicate that 25% of women report being encouraged by their health professionals to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. But as Mennella points out, "There was no valid scientific evidence to support this claim."

To address this research deficit, the current study, reported in the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, is the first to analyze the effects of alcohol on lactational hormones of women who are breastfeeding.

Subjects were 17 women who were nursing infants between 2 and 4 months of age. While in a controlled clinical setting away from their infants, each woman drank a beverage containing alcohol in orange juice on one day and plain orange juice on a different day. The dose of alcohol was equivalent to that found in one to two glasses of wine. After consuming the beverages, the women used electric breast pumps to stimulate lactation. Blood samples taken throughout the procedure were analyzed for oxytocin and prolactin, the two key hormones that control lactation.

Alcohol disrupted release of both hormones during lactation: oxytocin levels decreased an average of 78% and prolactin levels increased by 336%, as compared to when women consumed plain orange juice. Study co-author Yanina Pepino, PhD, a Monell developmental psychobiologist, explains the implications, "Under normal breastfeeding conditions, oxytocin and prolactin usually behave in tandem, such that sucking-induced breast stimulation results in transient release of both. However, following alcohol consumption we saw divergent responses in these two key hormones that control lactation."

After consuming alcohol, women took longer to eject the first drop of milk and produced less milk overall, physiological effects related to the alcohol-induced changes in oxytocin.

The current research provides a physiological basis for Mennella’s previous findings concerning alcohol’s effect on breastfeeding. Those studies indicated that infants ingest less milk at the breast in the hours following maternal alcohol consumption, in part due to decreased maternal milk production.

Mennella notes, "It’s important for women to realize that these data should not frighten them away from breastfeeding. Unlike the situation during pregnancy, when alcohol consumed at any time is always passed onto the fetus, a lactating woman who drinks occasionally can wait a few hours after she stops drinking to breastfeed so that her infant is not exposed to the alcohol in her milk. However, she needs to be aware that the hormones underlying lactation and her milk production will be affected in the short term."

Julie Mennella, PhD | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.monell.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>