Insights in Nutrition and Metabolism

Review Article - Insights in Nutrition and Metabolism (2017) Volume 1, Issue 2

Direct vs. indirect effects of bioactive milk proteins on neonatal growth: implications for failure to thrive and obesity

The nutritive components of breast milk are well studied including the macronutrients, protein, lipid, and carbohydrates, as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Recently, greater research attention has turned to other bioactive molecules found in milk that may play a significant non-nutritive role in normal infant development. Long chain-polyunsaturated fatty acids, complex oligosaccharides, bacteria, nucleotides, growth factors, and hormones are a few of these bioactive molecules found in breast milk. This mini-review examines research literature to determine if the growth and health promoting effects of bioactive proteins found in human breast milk are a result of intact, active molecules moving across the gut into infant circulation or the localized effect within the intestine. This topic has significant implications for both premature and failure to thrive infants as well as the opposite side of the spectrum with rapid, excess infant growth leading to childhood obesity.

Author(s): Julie Avery

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