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Pre-germinated brown rice could enhance maternal mental health and immunity during lactation

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Rice is a dietary staple worldwide, especially pre-germinated brown rice has recently been widely served in Japan because of its abundant nutrition. Relationship between lactation and pre-germinated brown rice has attracted interest in terms of mental health and immunity.

Aim of the study

To demonstrate that Japanese foods are beneficial for psychosomatic health, the effects of pre-germinated brown rice on the mental status and immunological features during lactation were investigated.


Forty-one breast-feeding mothers were recruited, and randomly divided into two groups. One group took pre-germinated brown rice and the other white rice (control) as their staple diet for 2 weeks. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) and salivary amylase activity as psychological indices and secretory IgA (s-IgA) and lactoferrin (LTF) in breast milk as immunological indices were determined before and after dietary intervention, and changes were investigated.


In the psychological assessment, the scores of depression, anger-hostility, and fatigue were decreased on POMS analysis in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group, resulting in a significant decrease in total mood disturbance (TMD). The salivary amylase activity measurement suggested that resistance to stress was increased in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group. On the immunological assessment, the s-IgA level was significantly increased in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group.


We have shown that pre-germinated brown rice may have beneficial effects on psychosomatic health.

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We thank H. Aoto for the supply of pre-germinated brown rice. We are indebted to the volunteers who participated in this study.

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Correspondence to Takashi Hayashi.

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Sakamoto, S., Hayashi, T., Hayashi, K. et al. Pre-germinated brown rice could enhance maternal mental health and immunity during lactation. Eur J Nutr 46, 391–396 (2007).

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