***

Just when you thought breast milk couldn't get any more amazing, along comes this fascinating new research on the sensory active compounds in preterm human milk.

As you know, breast milk has a very distinctive smell and taste.

Previous research had shown that some of the volatile components of breast milk could influence the learning of flavours through "the cephalic phase response, metabolism, and digestion".

But what about breast milk produced by mothers for preterm babies?


The study

Muelbert M et al. (2021) analysed breast milk samples collected from 170 mothers of preterm infants.

40 volatile compounds were detected in the milk: “mostly fatty acids and their esters (FA and FAe), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aldehydes, terpenoids, alcohols, and ketones.”

The scientists detected something interesting with the relative concentration of two compounds (FA and FAe):

The relative concentration of FA and FAe:

  • Increased with advancing lactation – meaning the longer period of time someone breastfeeds.
  • Were lower in the breast milk collected in most socially deprived mothers
  • Were also lower in the breast milk collected in those with gestational diabetes


What does this mean?

The scientists found the sensory-active volatile compounds (FA and FAe) are the major contributors to the smell of preterm breast milk.

The sensory-active volatile compounds (FA and FAe) are influenced by the lactation stage and maternal characteristics.

In preterm breast milk, these FAs increased with advanced lactation – meaning the longer period of time someone breastfeeds.

And this was really interesting (at least to me): “Colostrum had a higher concentration of medium-chain FAs compared to transitional BM and the concentration of these is associated with socioeconomic status, gestational diabetes, and ethnicity.”

So the colustrum of babies had a higher concentration of these sensory active compounds – but the concentration was linked to socioeconomic status, diabetes and ethnicity.

Wow.

More research is needed to find out whether differences in these volatile compounds may affect infant feeding behaviour and metabolism.

***

Science reference:

Muelbert M, Galante L, Alexander T, Harding JE, Pook C, Bloomfield FH. Odor-active volatile compounds in preterm breastmilk. Pediatr Res. 2021 May 7. doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01556-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33963300.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33963300/

***

Social media

As always, I would love to connect with you via social media.

FACEBOOK (please join us!): https://www.facebook.com/groups/473121803401844/

INSTAGRAM (please show some love!): https://www.instagram.com/microbiomecourses/

LINKEDIN (please connect with me): https://www.linkedin.com/in/toniharman/

PINTEREST (please share my pins): https://www.pinterest.co.uk/MicrobiomeCourses/

***

Want to know more?

Join our FREE one hour mini-course on the infant microbiome within our own microbiome academy, Microbiome Courses.

Approved for 1 L-CERP (IBLCE) & 1 CPD HOUR (ACM)

Immediate access and go-at-your-own pace.

Learn from 7 professors about why vaginal birth and breast milk are so critical to the infant immune system.

Link to enroll: >>> https://microbirth.teachable.com/p/specialinfantmicrobiome1/

***

You can contact us via Microbirth website: https://microbirth.com/contact-us/

You can reach our school home page via any of these links:

Microbiome Courses: microbiomecourses.com

Microbiome Academy: microbiomeacademy.com

Microbirth School: https://microbirth.teachable.com


***

Terms of Use: All content is protected by copyright. You agree that you will not modify, copy, reproduce, sell, or distribute any content in any manner or medium without express written permission from the copyright holders.

© Alto Films Ltd 2021. All rights reserved.