Human Milk Lessons : Human Milk Lipids

schedule 8 min read
Topic(s): Growth & Development
3 74

Koletzko focuses on functional lipid components in human milk. Adding complex lipids and milk fat globule membranes as found in human milk to vegetable oil-based infant formula has the potential to enhance infant development and reduce infections. Cholesterol provision with breastfeeding modulates sterol metabolism early in life and may induce long-term benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels later in life. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic (DHA) and arachidonic (ARA) acids have been extensively studied during the last 3 decades. Recent gene-diet interaction studies indicate that breastfeeding, which provides DHA and ARA, improves cognitive development and reduces asthma risk at school age, particularly in those children with a genetically determined lower activity of DHA and ARA synthesis. It appears prudent to follow the biological model of human milk lipids as far as feasible when future infant formulas are designed.