Relationships among lactation performance, maternal diet, and body protein metabolism in humans

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1989 Oct;43(10):681-91.


The relationships between lactation performance and maternal diet and body protein metabolism were determined at 1, 5, and 12 months postpartum in lactating women who consumed a controlled diet of measured protein and energy. Milk production was measured by the 24-h test weighing procedure. Maternal body protein metabolism was evaluated by nitrogen balance and a primed, constant infusion of [1-13C]leucine and [alpha-15N]lysine. Milk production was associated positively with lysine flux (P less than 0.05, r = 0.59), leucine incorporation into body protein (P less than 0.05, r = 0.58), nitrogen intakes (P less than 0.05, r = 0.56), and energy intakes (P less than 0.01, r = 0.69). When adjusted for postpartum time, significant associations between total nitrogen concentrations in milk and nitrogen balance also were present (P less than 0.05, r = 0.77). These observations document associations among lactation performance, maternal diet, and the metabolic responses of body protein stores in well-nourished women and suggest strategies for the improvement of milk production in settings where nutrient insufficiency and malnutrition prevail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / metabolism*
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Proteins