Lipids are comprised of triacylglycerols (TG, 98%), phospholipids (PL, 0.8%), cholesterol (C, 0.5%), and many others. The lipids (3–5%) occur as globules emulsified in the aqueous phase (87%) of milk. Lipids are the second most abundant component in human breast milk. Lipids are often feared because its affect in gaining weight. But for baby, the present of lipids in human breast milk mean a lot. In this posting I want to share the information to you about the effects of lipids in human breast milk for baby.
- Source of 50–60% of the calories, about 70 kcal/dL, in human milk. Not usually responsive to diet.
- Fatty acids combined into triacylglycerols to maintain a bulk melting point below 38°C.
- Provide about 15 mg of cholesterol/dL. May predispose the infant to efficiently metabolize dietary cholesterol as an adult. Precursor of steroid hormones and other derivatives in humans. Not affected by changes in maternal diet.
- Contain the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids 18:2n-6 (linoleic acid) and 18:3n-3 (linolenic acid) and their products, 20:4n-6 (arachidonic acid), 20:5n-3 (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and 22:6n-3 (docosahexaenoic acid). Required in maternal diet.
- The 20:4n-6, 20:5n-3, and 22:6n-3 in proper balance may be required for maturation and optimal function of the visual process and brain and nervous system.
- Contain 8:0–14:0, which if absorbed in the stomach, are transported to the liver and oxidized in decreasing amounts as the molecular weight increases. Quantities in milk dependent on amount of carbohydrate in diet.
- If present, the conjugated fatty acid, c9, t11-18:2, or rumenic acid, may exert anticarcinogenic, antiatherosclerotic, and other beneficial effects. Responds to ruminant products, particularly dairy products.
- Trans unsaturates believed by some to adversely affect infants growth. Some positional isomers of c-18:1 may ameliorate atherosclerosis.
- When produced by lipolysis in the stomach and small intestine, 12:0 and 18:2 and their monoacylglycerols have potent cidal effects against some microorganisms. Soluble and dispersible salts of fatty acids may act against microorganisms.
- Milk gangliosides inactivate cholera and other enterotoxins.
- Contain eicosanoids and their precursors, which act as first and second messengers. Precursors respond to diet.
- Lipolysis of triacylglycerols by gastric lipase, regioselective for sn-3/sn-1,3/1; produces sn-1,2-diacylglycerols, which can be second messengers in stomach and small intestine.
- Milk lipid globule membrane binds, protects, and releases bioactive compounds as needed. Graded doses of lipid provided. Membrane stabilizes globules in an oil/water emulsion.
- Increases in lipid content and numbers of globules during a nursing may help develop appetite and its control in the infant by approaching satiety and by the tactile effect of the globules.
- Lipid content increases as lactation progresses to help provide for growth and development of infant.
- Carrier of fat-soluble vitamins.
- Can transport undesirable compounds such as dioxins.
- When milk is stored in the frozen state, it can be the source of soapy flavor due to free 12:0 and to oxidized flavors (cardboardy) due to polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Carotenoids, tocopherols, and conjugated 18:2 may be antioxidants.
It has proven that mother’s breast-milk possess many benefits for baby, including the benefits from lipids contained in it. There’s no reason to not breastfeed your baby.