Richness of human milk
- September 24, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Richness of human milk
Subject :Science and technology
Section : Health
- A new finding about the carefully tailored richness of human milk has shed light on the importance of myo-inositol, a cyclic sugar alcohol.
Details of the findings:
- The levels of myo-inositol are high over the first two weeks of lactation and gradually taper off over a period of a few months.
- In the early stages, the brain of the newborn is a site of rapid ‘wiring’, as synapses (or connections between nerve cells) are formed in profusion.
- Proper synapse formation during early development lays the foundation for cognitive development; inadequate synapse formation leads to development difficulties in the brain.
- Myo-inositol is a cyclic sugar-alcohol, about half as sweet as sugar.
- It is abundant in the brain, where it mediates the response to several hormones.
- Our body needs inositol to form cell membranes. Our body makes myo-inositol from glucose, mostly in the kidneys.
- Sources of Myo-inositol:
- Our body’s requirements go up along with the intake of coffee and sugar, and in conditions such as diabetes. The bran of grains and seeds contains a precursor of inositol, phytic acid. Almonds, peas and cantaloupes are also rich sources.
- In animal models of diabetes, adding myo-inositol back to the diet of inositol-deprived mice helps prevent cataract formation and other complications associated with diabetes.
Other milk constituents:
- Other constituents of human milk have unique nutritive values too.
- An essential nutrient, an Omega-3 fatty acid and dicosahexaenoic acid (or DHA), varies depending on the food the pregnant mother has been eating.
- The DHA levels vary in the lactating mother’s milk across nations — 2.8% in mainland China, 1% in Japan, around 0.4-0.2% in Europe and the U.S., and only 0.1% or so in several developing countries. DHA is important for the developing brain and retina.
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a severe gastrointestinal condition that impacts premature or extremely low birth weight infants.
- Symptoms include inadequate feeding, abdominal bloating, multiorgan failure, and can be fatal.
- Risk factors consist of bottle-feeding, prematurity, and low birth weight (1.5 kg or less).
- The condition arises from a combination of compromised blood flow and intestinal infection. The NEC can be prevented by the utilisation of breast milk and probiotics.
- Nearly 10% of premature babies develop NEC, with a quarter of affected infants succumbing to the disease. The intestines of premature babies do not produce enough IL-22, which is involved in protecting us from microbial infections.