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Breast Milk Works As 'Fertilizers' For Babies: Why Infants Need Mom's Milk

Update Date: Apr 23, 2016 07:38 AM EDT

The components of human breast milk have long been distinguished along with the different functions it plays in an baby's primary meal however researchers are still baffled on why the configuration of these sugars changes during breastfeeding.

An evaluation on how this change is likely associated to the immune system of the infant and microbiome, the developing gut was discussed lately in the April 19 issue of Trends in Biochemical Sciences, according to Eurek Alert!

The milk from a lactating human female is poles apart from any other mammal as it has 200 various kinds of sugar molecules. This high in sugar milk is the infant's primary meal however most of them are not yet necessitated yet by babies. These available sugar molecules will then be the primary food source of bacteria in the gut which in just a few days and weeks will further grow in numbers. This feeding will help the bacteria culture into other bacterial components.

Thierry Hennet, one of the authors of the study from the Institute of Physiology at the University of Zurich explained that, "The first impact breast milk has is favoring the colonization of the gut by specific bacterial groups that can digest these sugar molecules."

"Infants don't have the machinery to digest these sugars so they are literally for the bacteria - it's like a seeding ground, and breast milk is the fertilizer," he added.

Subsequently in a thirty day transition phase for the infant, a more advance immune system is now present which promotes the antibodies in the breast milk to alter by more than 90 percent. The once myriad breast milk sugars will also dwindle in numbers promoting less assortment for bacterial species.

In its place, a more established supply of breast milk now contains elements essential for the continuous growth of the infant such as fat.

It has been recognized that even with the absence of breast milk as a child grows does not do any harm thus fostering queries as to what is the standard to breastfeeding.

The researchers made it a point to clarify that they draw a line on being cautious when it comes to breastfeeding recommendations.

However Hennett added that, "On the one hand, breast milk is the product of millions of years of evolution and certainly possesses the optimal nutrients for a baby, but the question is how long does the newborn really need this supply? We feel families should make that decision, and not scientists."

Meanwhile, New Zealand's dairy division considered a global player milk export has been met with a stumbling block in the world price market as China has continued to squirrel away its powdered milk, according to Reuters.




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