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J Pediatr. 2016 Jun;173 Suppl:S4-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.070.

Bioactive Proteins in Human Milk: Health, Nutrition, and Implications for Infant Formulas.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA. Electronic address:


Breast milk confers many benefits to the newborn and developing infant. There is substantial support for better long-term outcomes, such as less obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, in breastfed compared with formula-fed infants. More short-term outcomes, such as incidence and duration of illness, nutrient status, and cognitive development during the first year of life also demonstrate benefits of breastfeeding. Several proteins in breast milk, including lactoferrin, α-lactalbumin, milk fat globule membrane proteins, and osteopontin, have been shown to have bioactivities that range from involvement in the protection against infection to the acquisition of nutrients from breast milk. In some cases, bovine counterparts of these proteins exert similar bioactivities. It is possible by dairy technology to add protein fractions highly enriched in these proteins to infant formula.

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