Breast milk protects the baby from food allergies

We know that breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition to limit the risk of food allergies in newborns. According to researchers at the University of California, this is due to the oligosaccharides in breast milk.

Allergies appear already very early and most of the time they first manifest themselves in the form of food allergies. Several studies inconsistently associate breastfeeding with the development of allergies, however, there remain many uncertainties about which bioactive components of breast milk contribute to the development of food allergies.

Breast milk hides a wonder

Recent research has revealed that Human Milk Oligosaccharides (OLH) play an important role in newborn health. OLHs are complex sugar molecules found only in breast milk, not in baby food. They are not digestible and function as prebiotics, which largely contribute to the development of the intestinal microbiota. According to some research, these oligosaccharides have a considerable influence on food allergies.

Breast milk reduces the risk of food allergies

In new research, researchers at the University of California analyzed breast milk samples as well as data collected from mothers and newborns who participated in the CHILD Study. Approximately 3,500 Canadian mothers and children, followed from pregnancy to school-entry age, participated in this study. Using a skin test, the researchers determined whether the participants had an allergic sensitivity to the most common allergies, including allergies to specific foods. A positive test did not necessarily prove that there was an allergy, but showed that there was an increased sensitivity.

The results showed that no OLH was associated with food hypersensitivity. On the other hand, the general composition of the LOH seemed to play a role. The composition of OLH in breast milk depends on various factors such as stage of lactation, duration of pregnancy, health of the mother, ethnic origin and geographical location.

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In summary, the researchers demonstrate that the unique composition of OLHs in breast milk reduces the risk of food hypersensitivity in children. The importance of breastfeeding is again highlighted.

Miliku K et al. Human milk oligosaccharide profiles and food sensitization among infants in the CHILD Study. allergy. May 18, 2018.


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