SPLASH!® milk science update: March 2018 Issue

This month’s issue features a tribute, reducing body inflammation with dairy, milk lutein’s role in breastmilk, the risks of perfluoroalkyl substances, and methods of freezing milk.

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Cow milk evolved to best meet the needs of baby cows, but lucky for human consumers of milk and dairy products, many of those needs cut across species’ boundaries. Take, for example, the numerous anti-inflammatory agents found in cows milk. Although slightly different in degree and type from those found in human milk, several studies demonstrate that these factors, including calcium and the amino acid leucine, influence human markers of inflammation, particularly those related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. And unlike baby cows, humans need not consume a milk-only diet to reap these benefits—even adding just two servings of dairy a day can have positive effects on inflammation and, by extension, human health. Read More...

Human Milk’s Lutein Content Adds to the Evidence for Breastfeeding

Human Milk’s Lutein Content Adds to the Evidence for Breastfeeding

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are crucial components of a healthy diet, but few have heard of lutein, a substance that is structurally similar to vitamin A and found in spinach and kale. Because the human body cannot make lutein, the amount that one swallows determines how much is available to protect the skin from ultraviolet light, lower the risk of some cancers, and—if relevant—moderate the progression of atherosclerosis. There is also mounting evidence that lutein is important in fetal and infant development. Fetuses and infants receive lutein directly from their mother—via blood that passes through the placenta, and by consuming human milk. Read More...

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

For approximately the past decade, scientists have started to wonder about potential hazards that could be posed to human health from chemicals collectively known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals are widespread in the environment globally—they have been used in manufacturing products such as food packaging and textile coatings since the 1950s, and are now detectable in the food chain, and even in dust and dirt. Since these chemicals can accumulate in the body, researchers are studying how they might be passed from mother to infant. This appears to happen to some extent via the placenta and to a lesser extent via human milk. Such findings should not dissuade mothers from breastfeeding, however, because the levels of PFAS in infant formula have sometimes been found to be higher than those of human milk. Read More...

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

The first thing that comes to mind when many people think about freezing milk is ice cream. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and custards are all sweet treats that are notable for their creamy consistency. Yet milk that has been frozen sometimes seems less appealing once it’s brought back to a liquid state. Though some might not prefer milk that has been previously frozen, the ability to freeze and store milk and dairy products can be a safe and economical way to provide beneficial nutrition that people need. Likewise, the ability to keep human milk frozen for one’s own child helps families around the world every day. A common concern about freezing milk—whether produced by human or cow—is whether nutrients are lost in the process. So what, exactly, happens when we freeze milk? Read More...