SPLASH! milk science update: April 2014 issue

This month’s issue features articles about antibodies in breast milk, omega-3 fatty acids, the value of monkeys in milk research, and neonatal growth and the genome. Enjoy!

Breast Milk Antibody Promotes a Healthy Gut into Adulthood

Breast Milk Antibody Promotes a Healthy Gut into Adulthood

Many pediatrics studies have shown that inflammatory bowel disease is more common in infants who are not breast fed than in those who are. But explaining why this is the case has been hard. Recently, Charlotte Kaetzel and her colleagues at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, went further in demonstrating a mechanistic link than any group has done before. They report1 that an antibody (SIgA) transmitted in breast milk from mom to babe alters the expression of genes in infants’ gut epithelial cells. Not only are these genes associated with the development of irritable bowel syndrome, but the changes appear to last into adulthood. Read More...

Getting More Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Milk

Getting More Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Milk

In the early 20th century, vitamin D was added to commercial cow’s milk in response to the rise in malnourished children and adults with insufficient amounts of this essential nutrient in their diets. Today, many Americans and other populations consuming a primarily Western diet face another nutritional challenge. Despite having plentiful amounts of fat, the Western diet is lacking in a specific group of fatty acids called omega-3s, touted for their benefits to heart and brain health. In an effort to increase omega-3 intake, food manufacturers have started fortifying commonly consumed foods, including breads, cereals and eggs, with these essential fatty acids. Cow’s milk also is getting in on the act, in more ways than one. Do more omega-3s for cows mean more omega-3s for milk consumers? Read More...

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Monkey Model of Milk and Lactation

Like humans, monkeys generally give birth to one baby at a time and nurse them for extended periods during a time of infant and toddler-like development. Primates need this extended lactation period for social development. Just as humans need to learn interpersonal and societal rules, monkeys also need to learn how to find food and not kill each other. Thus, monkeys, like humans, produce a dilute milk to feed slow-growing young. Read More...

Picking Winners: How to Identify Genes Important for Neonatal Growth

Picking Winners: How to Identify Genes Important for Neonatal Growth

We all know that newborn babies need frequent and adequate nutrition to get a good start on life. Indeed, it is a particularly susceptible period when insufficient nutrition or complications can be life threatening. In recent years, it has also emerged that nutrition and the pattern of growth in this period can affect lifetime health and well being. By far the best source of nutrition during this period is mother’s milk, which is tuned to the babies nutritional and growth requirements. So as you might expect, there is a close relationship between the volume and composition of milk consumed by babies and their rate of growth. Read More...