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Breastfeed Med. 2006 Winter;1(4):207-15.

Early consumption of human milk oligosaccharides is inversely related to subsequent risk of respiratory and enteric disease in infants.

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University of Wyoming, School of Nursing, Laramie, Wyoming, USA.


A pilot study tested the relationship between human milk oligosaccharide consumption, oligosaccharide content of feces, and subsequent disease in breastfed infants. Forty-nine (49) mother-infant pairs provided milk and fecal samples 2 weeks postpartum; infant health was assessed through 2, 6, 12, and 24 weeks. LNF-II (lacto-N-fucopentaose II), a major human milk oligosaccharide, was measured to represent levels of total oligosaccharides consumed in milk and remaining in feces. LNF-II levels in milk at 2 weeks postpartum were associated with fewer infant respiratory problems by 6 weeks (p = 0.010), as were LNF-II levels in infant feces (p = 0.003). LNF-II levels in milk at 2 weeks were also associated with fewer respiratory problems by 12 weeks (p = 0.038), and fewer enteric problems by 6 weeks (p = 0.004) and 12 weeks (p = 0.045). Thus, consumption of human milk oligosaccharides through breastfeeding, represented by LNF-II, was associated with less reported respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in infants.

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