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Pharmacol Ther. 1994 Apr-May;62(1-2):193-220.

Breast milk as a source of vitamins, essential minerals and trace elements.

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MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, U.K.


Human breast milk provides all of the vitamins and essential minerals and trace elements (micronutrients) that are required by the normal term infant, until weaning. With a few exceptions, excessive micronutrient supplies to the mother, or a moderate deficiency in her diet, do not greatly alter the supply to the infant. Thus, the infant is well-protected by maternal homeostatic processes, although the mechanisms of these are not yet well understood. Considerable progressive changes in concentration occur for some of the micronutrients during the course of lactation. Because the concentration of these nutrients, and of other substances that modify their absorption by the infant, such as binding proteins, differs considerably between human milk, animal milk and, hence, commercial milk formulae, there is great interest in the quantitative significance of micronutrient supplies, and their variability in breast milk, in the quest for improvement of commercial formulations. The aim of this review is to summarize the available information about the factors that determine breast milk contents of micronutrients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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