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Polyphenols and Lactation: Molecular Evidence to Support the Use of Botanical Galactagogues.

Botanicals and herbal supplements contain a diverse array of polyphenols that may affect mammary gland function and promote galactagogue activity. This scoping review is conducted to identify scientific literature elucidating how polyphenols affect mammary gland biology and cellular mechanisms critical for lactation. A literature search of PubMed and Medline reviews relevant studies in dairy animals, rodent models, and cultured mammary epithelial cells that are published from January 2010 until July 2023, to ascertain effects of polyphenols on mechanisms regulating milk production and composition. The PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses for Scoping Review) strategy is applied and 80 studies on polyphenols and their implications on milk production and composition are included in this review. Limited information delineating effects of polyphenols on the molecular pathways that affect lactation are found, although available information suggests modulation of Stat5 signaling/differentiation, Stat3 signaling/remodeling, mTOR and insulin signaling/energy production, and nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκβ) signaling/oxidative stress and inflammation may play roles. A profound lack of mechanistic information underscores the critical need for further research to understand the impact of botanical supplements and polyphenols on milk production and composition in humans to establish maternal nutritional guidelines to support lactation and breastfeeding goals.

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