I recently attended an event on Glycobiology and nutrition given by Angie and Larry Law and learned of the big role that glyconutrients play in a baby’s healthy development. Turns out that glyconutrients are also the big reason mother’s milk is infinitely better than breast milk.
Human milk is often the sole dietary source for the first few months in life. It contains all the nutrients necessary for the infant to thrive, but also ingredients that may provide health benefits beyond those of traditional nutrients. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) comprise part of these functional ingredients; 1 L of mature human milk contains approximately 5-10 g unbound oligosaccharides, and >130 different HMO have been identified. Both their high amount and structural diversity are unique to humans. Only trace amounts of these oligosaccharides are present in mature bovine milk and, as a consequence, in bovine milk-based infant formula. The potential health benefits of HMO that were uncovered over the years may affect breast-fed infants both locally and systemically. Recent advances in glycobiology and nutrition, including the use of stable isotopes, frontal-affinity chromatography, glycan microarrays, MS, and automated solid-phase carbohydrate synthesis, will help verify hypotheses and unravel the mysteries behind HMO.
If you would like to read the full article, you can get it from The Journal of Nutrition, or read the article on PubMed.
Another article I found in “The Journal of Nutrition”, by Gunther Boehm and Bernd Stahl, goes even further in talking about these glyconutrients (oligosaccharides) as they relate to healthy development:
Feeding infants breast milk of healthy mothers is associated with a lower incidence of infectious and allergic diseases. Although this effect is of multifactorial origin, it is widely accepted that the entire intestinal flora of breast-fed infants provides anti-infective properties and is an important stimulating factor for the postnatal development of the immune system. The effect of human milk on the postnatal development of the intestinal flora cannot be attributed to a single ingredient. It is generally accepted, however, that human milk oligosaccharides play a key role in this matter. Apart from their prebiotic effects, there is also evidence that human milk oligosaccharides act as receptor analogs to inhibit the adhesion of pathogens on the epithelial surface and interact directly with immune cells. Because of their complexity, oligosaccharides with structures identical to human milk oligosaccharides are not yet available as dietary ingredients. In the current search for alternatives, non-milk-derived oligosaccharides have gained much attention. As 1 example, a mixture of neutral galacto-oligosaccharides and long chain fructo-oligosaccharides have been identified as effective prebiotic ingredients during infancy. Furthermore, another class of oligosaccharides with a potential physiological benefit could be those found in animal milks. Most of the oligosaccharides detected in domestic animal milks have some structural features in common with human milk oligosaccharides. One important fact is the occurrence of sialic acids such as N-acetylneuraminic acids. However, total amounts and individual structures are still different from those in human milk oligosaccharides. Although these structural similarities between animal milk and human milk oligosaccharides are promising, further studies are needed to prove the equivalence of their function.
This article can be found at Oligosaccharides from Milk.
Isn’t it wonderful that all this research has been around since 2006 and 2007?
Isn’t it time we let young mothers in on the secret and make sure they get enough glyconutrients in their diet?
If you would like to support me in this, I’d love to hear from you.
Contact me on my Contact page, or come and attend one of the regular Events I host at my home, where you’ll be able to ask me your questions in person!
Wishing you Wellness,