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      Human breast milk: A review on its composition and bioactivity.

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          Abstract

          Breast milk is the perfect nutrition for infants, a result of millions of years of evolution, finely attuning it to the requirements of the infant. Breast milk contains many complex proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, the concentrations of which alter dramatically over a single feed, as well as over lactation, to reflect the infant's needs. In addition to providing a source of nutrition for infants, breast milk contains a myriad of biologically active components. These molecules possess diverse roles, both guiding the development of the infants immune system and intestinal microbiota. Orchestrating the development of the microbiota are the human milk oligosaccharides, the synthesis of which are determined by the maternal genotype. In this review, we discuss the composition of breast milk and the factors that affect it during the course of breast feeding. Understanding the components of breast milk and their functions will allow for the improvement of clinical practices, infant feeding and our understanding of immune responses to infection and vaccination in infants.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Early Hum. Dev.
          Early human development
          1872-6232
          0378-3782
          Nov 2015
          : 91
          : 11
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Centre for International Child Health, Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Hospital, Praed Street, London, W2 1NY UK. Electronic address: n.andreas11@imperial.ac.uk.
          [2 ] Centre for International Child Health, Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Hospital, Praed Street, London, W2 1NY UK; MRC Unit-The Gambia, Vaccines & Immunity Theme, Atlantic Road, Fajara, The Gambia. Electronic address: b.kampmann@imperial.ac.uk.
          [3 ] Centre for International Child Health, Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, St. Mary's Hospital, Praed Street, London, W2 1NY UK; Wellcome Trust Centre for Global Health Research, Norfolk Place, London, UK; MRC Unit-The Gambia, Vaccines & Immunity Theme, Atlantic Road, Fajara, The Gambia. Electronic address: k.mehring-le-doare@imperial.ac.uk.
          Article
          S0378-3782(15)00177-2
          10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2015.08.013
          26375355
          239f1eab-097f-440e-a451-a80e430f3088
          Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

          Child nutrition science,Human milk,Immunity,Neonate
          Child nutrition science, Human milk, Immunity, Neonate

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