Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Here's why breast milk is best.

Spanish researchers have traced the bacterial microbiota map in breast milk, which is often the main source of nourishment for newborns. The study has revealed a larger microbial diversity than originally thought: more than 700 species.

The breast milk received from the mother is one of the factors determining how the bacterial flora will develop in the newborn baby. A group of Spanish scientists have now used a technique based on massive DNA sequencing to identify the set of bacteria contained within breast milk called microbiome. Thanks to their study, pre- and postnatal variables influencing the micriobial richness of milk can now be determined.

Colostrum is the first secretion of the mammary glands after giving birth. In some of the samples taken of this liquid, more than 700 species of these microorganisms were found, which is more than originally expected by experts. The results have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study also reveals that the milk of overweight mothers or those who put on more weight than recommended during pregnancy contains a lesser diversity of species. The type of labor also affects the microbiome within the breast milk: that of mothers who underwent a planned caesarean is different and not as rich in microorganisms as that of mothers who had a vaginal birth. However, when the caesarean is unplanned (intrapartum), milk composition is very similar to that of mothers who have a vaginal birth.

These results suggest that the hormonal state of the mother at the time of labor also plays a role.

Bonnie: As we already know, formula feeding from the beginning puts infant guts at a disadvantage. This is just another example of why nature is so brilliant.

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