Optimal nutrition in lactating women and its effect on later health of offspring: A systematic review of current evidence and recommendations (EarlyNutrition project): A systematic review of current evidence and recommendations (EarlyNutrition project)

Marita de Waard, Brigitte Brands, Stefanie M. P. Kouwenhoven, Joaquim Calvo Lerma, Paula Crespo-Escobar, Berthold Koletzko, Bartlomiej M. Zalewski, Johannes B. van Goudoever

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: EarlyNutrition (www.project-earlynutrition.eu) is an international research consortium investigating the effects of early nutrition on metabolic programming. Objective: To summarize current evidence and standards, recommendations, guidelines, and regulations on nutrition or supplements in lactating women with emphasis placed on long-term health effects in offspring, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, overweight/obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or glucose intolerance. Methods: Medline, Embase, selected databases and websites were searched for documents published between 2010 and 2015. Results: Thirteen documents met the inclusion criteria. Effects of maternal long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) supplementation on overweight/obesity or hypertension in offspring were assessed in 10 studies. One study described the effect of maternal vitamin D supplementation on overweight/obesity, and the remaining 2 studies assessed the effects of maternal probiotic/synbiotic supplementation during lactation on overweight/obesity or metabolic syndrome in their infants. Forty-one documents contained dietary recommendations on various macro-and micronutrients for lactating women, but without consideration of our long-term health outcomes in infants. Conclusion: Literature on nutrition of lactating women and its effect on their infants' later health with respect to metabolic programming outcomes appeared to be scarce, and focused mostly on supplementation of LC-PUFA's. No recent guidelines or recommendations were available, highlighting the significant research gaps regarding this topic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4003-4016
Number of pages14
JournalCritical reviews in food science and nutrition
Issue number18
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2017


  • Infant
  • Vitamin D
  • metabolic programming
  • probiotics

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