A very interesting snapshot from an article found online at www.wired.com.
The full article ‘Liquid Gold: The Booming Market for Human Breast Milk’, discusses both the underground and for-profit organizations involved with breast milk donations and milk banks. To see the full article, click the above link.
I choose to add this piece from the article to my blog, as I think it outlines brilliantly some of the less familiar health benefits of breast feeding.
The overall benefit of feeding babies breast milk instead of formula has been well established. In 2004, the Surgeon General issued a report drawing on research from the US Department of Health and Human Services and several peer-reviewed journals showing that babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed are at an increased risk for asthma, acute ear infections, diarrhea, and SIDS. The advantages of feeding breast milk to babies are touted by some to be lifelong, potentially lowering the odds of obesity and boosting IQ by as much as 5 points.
Researchers have only recently begun to identify the mechanisms underlying breast milk’s powerful effects. Look at it through a microscope and you can see that breast milk is abuzz with white blood cells, pearly fat globules, and fuzzy balls of protein. At higher magnification, you can make out the millions of Y-shaped molecules that are an infant’s primary defense against infection: antibodies. Produced by the mother’s immune system in response to the pathogens in her environment, these antibodies are passed along to the baby to fight off illness. Mothers’ milk has other protective properties and potential uses as well. Sugars called oligosaccharides, long thought to have no function, since infants can’t digest them, are now known to adhere to a baby’s intestinal lining, allowing good bacteria in while repelling harmful bugs, like a discerning bouncer at a hip club. Fatty acids called DHA and AA serve as brain food, stimulating neurological development. One fatty acid-protein hybrid nicknamed Hamlet (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells) has been found to kill 40 different types of cancer cell lines in the lab and is being researched as a treatment for patients. Breast milk also contains a host of stem cells. While scientists don’t know yet what they’re doing there, researchers suspect they may have the ability to differentiate into disease-fighting agents and could one day be harvested to treat an array of ailments, thus sidestepping the ethical concerns of harvesting stem cells from human embryos.
- Liquid Gold: The Booming Market for Human Breast Milk (punjapit.wordpress.com)
- Is Breast Milk the Key to Mother-Baby Bonding? (healthland.time.com)
- The Breast Milk Black Market [Breast Intentions] (jezebel.com)
- Breast Milk – Benefits (almurtaza110.wordpress.com)