Fatty acid composition of breast milk from Nigerian and Japanese women

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1991 Aug;37(4):435-42. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.37.435.


The fatty acid composition of samples of breast milk obtained from well-nourished Nigerian and Japanese women was determined by gas chromatography. The cultural differences in dietary intake was reflected in the fatty acid composition of breast milk samples. The milk of Nigerian women contained a significantly higher percentage of saturated fatty acids (48.75%) than that of Japanese women (46.65%). Nigerian milks were also richer in arachidonic (20:4 n-6), eicosatrienoic (20:3 n-6), and docosatetraenoic (22:4 n-6) acids. Conversely, the milk of Japanese woman contained significantly higher percentages of monoun-saturates as palmitoleic, heptadecenoic, oleic, and polyunsaturates of n-3 series as alpha-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acid.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arachidonic Acid / analysis
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Nigeria
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Palmitic Acids / analysis


  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Palmitic Acids
  • palmitoleic acid
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Palmitic Acid