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J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2009 Sep;45(2):150-4. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.08-233. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

Antioxidant and radical scavenging activity of human colostrum, transitional and mature milk.

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  • 1Biochemistry department, Faculty of Medicine, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand 9717853577, Iran.


Human milk from healthy women contains numerous nutrients such as antioxidants which are necessary for newborns. The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and free radical scavenging activity in human milk during the first six month period of lactation and also its relationship to maternal plasma. A total of 505 milk samples (colostrum, transitional and mature milks) collected from 115 healthy women with full term newborns. Blood plasma was obtained from 58 women at 3 months postpartum. The TAC of samples were measured by Ferric Reducing/Antioxidant Power assay and free radical scavenging activity were evaluated using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. TAC was obviously higher in colostrums than transitional and mature milks. Similar results were observed for DPPH radical scavenging activity of the samples. There was a high significant correlation between the results of these two methods. The relationship between the antioxidant content of human milk and maternal plasma was also significant. These data suggest that using colostrum, with high antioxidant potential during the first days of life is vital; moreover, reduction in total TAC during the course of lactation may needs more attention about nutritional status.


colostrum; mature milk; radical scavenging activity; total antioxidant activity; transitional milk

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