IssueM Articles

Dietary Access to B Vitamins during Pregnancy and Lactation Influences Infant Development

Red meat, fish, beans, and cow milk are all good dietary sources of B vitamins. But what about human milk? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Unlike cow mothers who have bacteria in their rumen that synthesize vitamin B12 during food digestion, human mothers rely on their diet to supply milk with B vitamins (except folate, B9). Because populations in many parts of the world suffer from vitamin B deficiency due to poor quality diets or dietary preferences that exclude animal products (e.g., vegetarian and vegan diets), human milk B vitamin composition varies widely across mothers.

Creating Cows That Produce Hypoallergenic Milk

Food allergies can be a real kick in the guts, causing a range of symptoms from mild discomfort to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. About 2-3% of babies and young infants have allergic reactions to proteins in cow’s milk, making this the most common food allergy in early childhood.

Bitter Tastes from the Mother’s Diet Comes through in Her Milk—and That’s a Good Thing

As the popular adage goes, you are what you eat, and a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science (in a loose sense) seems to support that. A research team from the Netherlands has characterized the tastes and smells of human milk and discovered a correlation between the mother’s diet and the taste of her milk. In particular, the scientists were interested in teasing apart the sensory differences in fore and hind milk and focused on whether bitter tastes would show up through the mother’s milk.

From Myth to Reality: Yogurt and Dairy Foods Show Benefits to Cardiovascular Health and Type 2 Diabetes

Genghis Khan supposedly believed eating yogurt instilled bravery in his warriors, and in the Bible, Abraham’s longevity was attributed to his yogurt consumption. Although there isn’t scientific evidence that yogurt encourages people to storm through Mongolia or helps them live to be 175 years old, yogurt does have numerous demonstrated health benefits that could influence both vitality and life span—it has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve gut and cardiovascular health, and dairy foods, including yogurt, are associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity and a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes.

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Stinky Cheeses Have a Diverse Array of Peptides

The thought of maggots, fungus, and mites infesting your cheese might make you feel queasy, but researchers are looking into how these unconventional cheese-making methods might actually release peptides, or amino acid sequences, that could be beneficial for your health. In a new study, scientists at the University of California, Davis, profiled the array of peptides found in four particularly pungent cheeses and discovered a huge diversity of peptides—between 2900 and 4700 per cheese.

Milk-fed Bifidobacterium infantis EVC001 Promotes Proper Immune Development

No one likes having a sneezing fit due to seasonal allergies or struggling to breathe during an asthma attack. It turns out our propensity to such allergic and autoimmune reactions may come down to what’s in our gut—or rather, what was there when we were infants. A new study finds that whether a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (B. infantis), is present in infant guts influences early immune development and could thus reduce the risk of allergic and autoimmune conditions later in life.

Milk Fat: Seven Mammals, Over 400 Lipid Classes

Low-fat, reduced-fat, whole-fat—we talk about milk fat as if it were a singular ingredient, when milk fat is actually made up of several thousand different fats. Mammalian milk fat is, in fact, the most complex lipid in nature. A new research field, called lipidomics, allows researchers to quantify this complexity, by identifying and measuring all the thousands of fats at once.

Real Milk, Plant-based Alternatives, and the Promotion of Healthy Teeth

Dentists have plenty to do these days. During the pandemic, for weeks and months at a time, countries have put in place policies that have postponed many a dental check-up. Probably millions. Meanwhile, forced to stay home, people’s diets have shifted. One analysis of the Brisighella Heart Study cohort found that participants ate more yogurt and drank more milk than usual during Italy’s February-April 2020 lockdown. They also guzzled more sugars and sweets. While no dentist expects the extra sugar and sweets to make their job any easier, the elevated yogurt and milk intake just might, depending, that is, on whether individuals consumed dairy milk products or plant-based alternatives.

Sponsor Feature: International Milk Genomics Consortium

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