SPLASH!® milk science update: June 2017 Issue

This month’s issue features preventing bone loss, human-edible plant protein, milk and migration, and oligosaccharides in human milk.

Preventing Bone Loss With Dairy and Vitamin D

Preventing Bone Loss With Dairy and Vitamin D

With age comes wisdom. That’s the good news. Age, unfortunately, also comes with less desirable traits, including bone loss. Soon after the human skeleton reaches its maximum bone mass, sometime between 20 and 30 years of age, the rate of bone breakdown begins to exceed the rate of bone formation. Although this physiological process is an inevitable part of aging, it can be slowed to avoid the development of osteoporosis, a bone disease currently affecting more than 10 million Americans over the age of 50. Read More...

Humans and Dairy Cows Compete for Human-edible Plant Protein

Humans and Dairy Cows Compete for Human-edible Plant Protein

An expert panel that contributed to a 2009 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report entitled “How to Feed the World in 2050” calculated that world food production would need to increase 70% by 2050 to meet the challenge of feeding 9.7 billion people. For many of today’s agricultural scientists, this is a daunting, though some say achievable, number. Read More...

Milk, Migration and Survival of Early Europeans

Milk, Migration and Survival of Early Europeans

Dairy is deeply embedded in human history. It was exploited from pre-historic times as a source of food and likely emerged very soon after the domestication of ruminants. When and where it was used and its role in the birth and development of human societies is a very active area for scientific research. Was it part of a more complex mixed diet that developed with more complex social structures? Was it relied upon to sustain survival in pioneer human communities that ventured into new territory to avoid conflict, or simply to find suitable land for growing herds of domesticated animals? A study by Spiteri et al. analyzed new and existing data from across the northern Mediterranean to decipher the preference for dairy milk in communities that settled these regions between 7,000 and 9,000 years ago. Read More...

The Oligosaccharides in Human Milk Vary by Population

The Oligosaccharides in Human Milk Vary by Population

Human milk often contains a higher concentration of medium-length sugar molecules called oligosaccharides (HMOs) than it does protein. That may seem a little odd, given that these sugars, which number well over 150 different types, are generally left undigested by the infants that consume them. Nonetheless, HMOs can confer impressive benefits on infant health. Some, for example, stop viruses finding a footing on intestinal cells. And more generally, the HMO profile of a mother’s milk appears to impact her infant’s metabolism, via changes in her offspring’s gut bacteria, as well as her infant’s lean and fat body mass. Scientists, however, know relatively little about what HMOs are normally produced by mothers in different parts of the world. Read More...