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Matern Child Nutr. 2018 Apr;14(2):e12503. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12503. Epub 2017 Aug 29.

The effects of a lipid-based nutrient supplement and antiretroviral therapy in a randomized controlled trial on iron, copper, and zinc in milk from HIV-infected Malawian mothers and associations with maternal and infant biomarkers.

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USDA, ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, California, USA.
Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, California, USA.
Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
UNC Project, Lilongwe, Malawi.
School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


We evaluated effects of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNSs) on iron, copper, and zinc in milk of exclusively breastfeeding HIV-infected Malawian mothers and their correlations with maternal and infant biomarkers. Human milk and blood at 2, 6, and 24 weeks post-partum and blood during pregnancy (≤30 weeks gestation) were collected from 535 mothers/infant-pairs in the Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals, and Nutrition study. The participants received ARV, LNS, ARV and LNS, or no intervention from 0 to 28 weeks post-partum. ARVs negatively affected copper and zinc milk concentrations, but only at 2 weeks, whereas LNS had no effect. Among all treatment groups, approximately 80-90% of copper and zinc and <50% of iron concentrations met the current adequate intake for infants at 2 weeks and only 1-19% at 24 weeks. Pregnancy haemoglobin was negatively correlated with milk iron at 2 and 6 weeks (r = -.18, p < .02 for both). The associations of the milk minerals with each other were the strongest correlations observed (r = .11-.47, p < .05 for all); none were found with infant biomarkers. At 2 weeks, moderately anaemic women produced milk higher in iron when ferritin was higher or TfR lower. At 6 weeks, higher maternal α-1-acid glycoprotein and C-reactive protein were associated with higher milk minerals in mildly anaemic women. Infant TfR was lower when milk mineral concentrations were higher at 6 weeks and when mothers were moderately anaemic during pregnancy. ARV affects copper and zinc milk concentrations in early lactation, and maternal haemoglobin during pregnancy and lactation could influence the association between milk minerals and maternal and infant iron status and biomarkers of inflammation.


HIV; copper; haemoglobin status; human milk; iron; zinc

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