Unique com­po­si­tion of breast­milk may help re­duce food sen­si­ti­za­tion in in­fants

Iran Daily - - Health -

The unique com­po­si­tion of a mother’s breast­milk may help to re­duce food sen­si­ti­za­tion in her in­fant, re­ported re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity Of Cal­i­for­nia San Diego School Of Medicine with col­leagues in Canada.

The find­ings, pub­lished in Al­lergy, fur­ther high­lighted the health role of hu­man milk oligosac­cha­rides (HMOS), which are not found in in­fant for­mula, and un­der­score their po­ten­tial for ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tions, newsmed­i­cal.net re­ported.

HMOS are struc­turally com­pli­cated sugar mol­e­cules unique to hu­man breast milk. They are the third most abun­dant solid com­po­nent in hu­man milk af­ter lac­tose (a dif­fer­ent type of sugar) and fat.

They are not ac­tu­ally di­gestible by in­fants, but act as a pre­bi­otic, help­ing to guide development of the in­fant gut mi­cro­biota, which pre­vi­ous re­search sug­gests is a key in­flu­encer of al­ler­gic dis­ease. Past re­search has shown that breast­fed in­fants have a lower risk for a va­ri­ety of med­i­cal con­di­tions, such as wheez­ing, in­fec­tions, asthma and obe­sity.

In the newly pub­lished study, a team led by Lars Bode, PHD, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of pe­di­atrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Meghan Azad, PHD, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the Rady Fac­ulty of Health Sciences at Uni­ver­sity of Manitoba, an­a­lyzed milk sam­ples and data from 421 in­fants and moth­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the CHILD Study, a lon­gi­tu­di­nal study track­ing nearly 3,500 Canadian moth­ers and chil­dren from preg­nancy to school age.

The CHILD Study was launched in 2008 by the Canadian In­sti­tutes of Health Re­search and the Al­ler­gen Net­work of Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence, a consortium of re­searchers, in­dus­try part­ners, pol­i­cy­mak­ers, health care providers and pa­tient ad­vo­cates sup­port­ing im­proved un­der­stand­ing and treat­ment of al­ler­gic dis­eases.

Breast milk sam­ples taken three-to-four months af­ter birth were an­a­lyzed at the Lars­son-rosen­quist Foun­da­tion Mother-milk-in­fant Cen­ter of Re­search Ex­cel­lence at UC San Diego, di­rected by Bode. At one year of age, in­fants were given skin prick tests to check for al­ler­gic sen­si­ti­za­tion to com­mon al­ler­gens, in­clud­ing cer­tain foods.

“A pos­i­tive test is not nec­es­sar­ily proof of an al­lergy, but does in­di­cate a height­ened sen­si­tiv­ity,” said Azad, a Canada Re­search Chair in De­vel­op­men­tal Ori­gins of Chronic Dis­ease.

“Sen­si­ti­za­tions dur­ing in­fancy don’t al­ways per­sist into later child­hood, but they are im­por­tant clin­i­cal in­di­ca­tors and strong pre­dic­tors of fu­ture al­ler­gic dis­ease.”

The mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team of sci­en­tists found that 59 of 421 in­fants (14 per­cent) dis­played sen­si­ti­za­tion to one or more food al­ler­gens at age 1. No in­di­vid­ual HMO was associated with food sen­si­ti­za­tion, but the over­all HMO com­po­si­tion ap­peared to play a role.

Com­po­si­tion of HMOS in breast milk is vari­able and de­ter­mined by fac­tors like lac­ta­tion stage, ges­ta­tional age, ma­ter­nal health, eth­nic­ity, ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion and breast­feed­ing ex­clu­siv­ity.

“Our re­search has iden­ti­fied a ‘ben­e­fi­cial’ HMO pro­file that was associated with a lower rate of food sen­si­ti­za­tion in chil­dren at one year,” said Bode.

“To our knowl­edge, this is the largest study to ex­am­ine the as­so­ci­a­tion of HMOS and al­lergy development in in­fants, and the first to eval­u­ate over­all HMO pro­files.”


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