I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Alfalfa? Is Alfalfa safe for nursing mother and child? Does Alfalfa extracts into breast milk? Does Alfalfa has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Alfalfa influence milk supply or can Alfalfa decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?

Alfalfa lactation summary

Alfalfa is unsafe in breastfeeding
  • DrLact safety Score for Alfalfa is 5 out of 8 which is considered Unsafe as per our analyses.
  • A safety Score of 5 indicates that usage of Alfalfa may cause serious side effects in breastfed baby.
  • Our study of different scientific research indicates that Alfalfa may cause moderate to high side effects or may affect milk supply in lactating mother.
  • Our suggestion is to use safer alternate options rather than using Alfalfa .
  • It is recommended to evaluate the advantage of not breastfeeding while using Alfalfa Vs not using Alfalfa And continue breastfeeding.
  • While using Alfalfa Its must to monitor child for possible reactions. It is also important to understand that side effects vary largely based on age of breastfed child and time of medication in addition to dosage.
  • Score calculated using the DrLact safety Version 1.2 model, this score ranges from 0 to 8 and measures overall safety of drug in lactation. Scores are primarily calculated using publicly available case studies, research papers, other scientific journals and publically available data.

Answer by Dr. Ru: About Alfalfa usage in lactation

Aerial summits and seeds are used. It contains a great deal of flavonoids, steroids, cumestans, vitamins and minerals Attributed effects but not clinically tested are: agonist of estrogen, antianemic and diuretic. Also, there is not reliable data that would support its use as galactagogue. At latest update, relevant published data on excretion into breast milk were not found. Because its estrogenic effect it should not be consumed during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Caravanina which is one of the components, is toxic if continuously used. Pancytopenia, Hemolytic anemia and Lupus Erythematosus have been described as induced by frequent consumption of germinated-seeds or tablets of alfalfa. Cautious measures before consumption of herbal infusions should include: 1. Make sure that the source is reliable: occurrance of intoxication cases after mistakenly use of a toxic plant, poisoning by consumption of heavy metal containing substances or contaminated food by bacterial or fungal toxins. 2. Avoid excessive use. The “natural products” are not harmless at whatever dosage: the plants contain active substances that have been the source of our common pharmaceutical drugs. They may be a cause of poisoning if consumed in high quantity or for a long time.

Answer by DrLact: About Alfalfa usage in lactation

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) leaves and sprouts contain saponins, estrogenic isoflavinoids (e.g., dianzein genistein), vitamin K, and the amino acid L-canavanine. Alfalfa is a purported galactogogue and is included in some proprietary mixtures promoted to increase milk supply;[1][2][3][4][5] however, no scientifically valid clinical trials support this use. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production.[6] Dianzein and genistein are excreted into breastmilk in small amounts,[7][8][9] but have not been measured specifically after alfalfa intake. No data exist on the excretion of other components of alfalfa into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of alfalfa in nursing mothers or infants. Alfalfa is generally well tolerated and is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) as a food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Worsening of systemic lupus erythematosus has been reported, possibly caused by immune system stimulation by L-canavanine. Because of its vitamin K content, alfalfa should be avoided in persons taking warfarin. Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information #about dietary supplements# is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Synonyms of Alfalfa

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