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Ask Allie: Can adults receive COVID-19 antibodies from breast milk?

Researchers found a significant supply of COVID-19 antibodies do exist in the breastmilk of vaccinated mothers

ST. LOUIS — In Thursday morning’s Ask Allie, viewer JP Smith sent Allie Corey an email.

He asked:

"Can adults receive COVID antibodies through consuming human breast milk? My cousin is fully vaccinated and had a breakthrough case of COVID. She is fully recovered and is producing extra milk which a few of us have purchased and consumed. Are there any benefits for protecting us from COVID?"

Well JP, researchers at the University of Florida found a significant supply of COVID-19 antibodies do exist in the breast milk of vaccinated mothers.

They tested the breast milk of mothers before the vaccine, after the first dose and after the second dose. They found a large increase of antibodies in the mother’s milk after full vaccination. While researchers have said this may provide protection against COVID-19 to nursing infants, they still don't know how much protection and for how long.

As far as adult consumption of human milk for protection against COVID-19, we contacted the senior author on the study, Dr. Joseph Larkin.

"It is a great question. So, I can't speak to whether there would be no benefit because we just haven't done studies to say that, but it is safe to say that the benefits of the vaccination would be more beneficial,” Larkin said. “When you're vaccinated, it allows the adult immune system to figure out the best way to deal with a given pathogen and it’s active immunity as opposed to passive immunity that the breast milk would provide."

Dr. Larkin also mentioned that breast milk is not regulated which could pose risks. However, he and his team are actively researching all the benefits of human milk consumption and hope to have more answers soon.