Polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations in human hindmilk are stable throughout 12-months of lactation and provide a sustained intake to the infant during exclusive breastfeeding: An Italian study

Franca Marangoni, Carlo Agostoni, Anna M. Lammardo, Marcello Giovannini, Claudio Galli, Enrica Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While a wealth of data on the fatty acid composition of mature human milk has been published, limited information is available on the quantities of individual fatty acids supplied to the suckling infant with maternal milk, through the whole first year of life. Our aim was to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the fatty acid composition of human milk from Italian mothers, throughout extended lactation with particular emphasis on the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. We have thus measured the total fat content and the concentrations of major fatty acids by quantitative GLC in pooled breast hindmilk collected from all feedings over 24 h at colostrum, 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months in ten mothers recruited after delivery of full-term infants. Total saturated fatty acids progressively increase and total monounsaturated progressively decrease as percentage levels, while among long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, percentages of arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid decrease from colostrum up to the third month. Hindmilk total lipids (mg/dl) rise more than twofold up to 3 months, and then remain stable. The amounts (mg/dl) of linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid progressively increase, following the trend of total fat, while arachidonic and docosahexaenoic concentrations (mg/dl) remain stable throughout the whole nursing period. Assessment of the intakes per kg body weight shows different trends for the individual major long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids supplied to the infant from hindmilk during exclusive breast-feeding (3 months). This information may be useful for the evaluation of infant intakes during extended lactation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Volume84
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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