Foods high in conjugated linoleic acids can enrich breast milk

Jul 28, 2008

Have a cookie before breast-feeding, mom? Eating special cookies enriched with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can increase the level of these potentially healthful fatty acids in breast milk, reports a recent study in the journal Nutrition Research.

Led by Athena A. Moutsioulis of University of New Hampshire, the researchers designed a study to find out how long it takes for CLA that mothers eat in foods to appear in breast milk. Conjugated linoleic acid is a group of fatty acids with possible health benefits, including anticancer and antioxidant effects.

In the study, seven nursing mothers ate cookies made with CLA-enriched butter or with regular butter. The women then pumped samples of their breast milk every four to six hours for two days. The enriched cookies contained about eight times more CLA than the regular cookies.

Breast milk from women who ate the CLA-enriched cookies had significantly higher levels of CLA. Across the 48-hour study period, CLA levels were 46 percent higher in milk from women who ate CLA-enriched cookies, compared to those who ate regular cookies. Levels of CLA in breast milk were highest between 8 and 28 hours after the mothers ate the CLA-enriched cookies. Nutrition researchers are interested in the health benefits of CLA, including possible reductions in heart disease risk. High levels of CLA are found naturally in foods such as butter, milk, cheese, and certain meats. Most CLA studies in humans have used commercially available supplements, which may not be the same as the CLA found in natural food products.

Previous studies have shown long-term increases in breast milk CLA levels in women who ate cheese and alpine butter for up to eight weeks. The new results suggest that higher levels of CLA in breast milk can be achieved in the short term as well—within a few hours after eating CLA-enriched foods.

Despite its small size and other limitations, this pilot study suggests that CLA appearance in human breast milk can be increased by an acute ingestion of a CLA-rich food in the maternal diet," the researchers write. Given the possible benefits of CLA on infant health and development, further studies are needed to see how CLA intake from natural foods affects CLA levels in breast milk, and whether higher CLA levels translate into additional health benefits for breast-fed babies.

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Chile's Bachelet sends abortion bill to Congress

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Galaxy dust findings confound view of early Universe

10 hours ago

What was the Universe like at the beginning of time? How did the Universe come to be the way it is today?—big questions and huge attention paid when scientists attempt answers. So was the early-universe ...

Recommended for you

Chile's Bachelet sends abortion bill to Congress

5 minutes ago

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet on Saturday pressed ahead with plans to decriminalize abortion in certain cases, a decades-old taboo in one of Latin America's most socially conservative countries.

Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

Jan 30, 2015

Jamaica's Senate on Friday started debating a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the island where the drug ...

Can Lean Management improve hospitals?

Jan 30, 2015

Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to new research.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.