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New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding

Date:
August 12, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers have identified proteins in human breast-milk -- not present in cow's milk -- that may fight disease by helping remove bacteria, viruses and other dangerous pathogen's from an infant's gastrointestinal tract.

Scientists have identified sugar-based proteins in human breast-milk that could help fight disease.
Credit: iStockphoto

Researchers in Switzerland and Australia are reporting identification of proteins in human breast-milk — not present in cow's milk — that may fight disease by helping remove bacteria, viruses and other dangerous pathogen's from an infant's gastrointestinal tract.

Niclas Karlsson and colleagues point out that researchers have known for years that breast milk appears to provide a variety of health benefits, including lower rates of diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and other medical problems in comparison to babies fed with cow's milk. However, the biological reasons behind this association remain unclear.

To find out, the scientists collected human and cow's milk samples and analyzed their content of milk fat. They found that fat particles in human milk are coated with particular variants of two sugar-based proteins, called MUC-1 and MUC-4.

Previous studies by others have shown that these proteins can block certain receptors in the GI tract that are the main attachment sites for E. coli, Helicobacter pylori and other disease-causing microbes, thereby preventing infection. By contrast, since cow's milk lacks these protein variants, it may not offer the same disease protection, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wilson et al. Glycoproteomics of Milk: Differences in Sugar Epitopes on Human and Bovine Milk Fat Globule Membranes. Journal of Proteome Research, 2008; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.1021/pr700793k

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811094951.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, August 12). New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811094951.htm
American Chemical Society. "New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811094951.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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