The importance of breast milk for the growing infant is undisputed; breastfeeding decreases infantile mortality by tenfold and decreases the incidence of infectious diseases. Despite its recognized benefits, the structural richness of breast milk has also impeded the characterization of the multiple effects of milk components on infant physiology. However, the important roles of some components of breast milk are beginning to be dissected. For instance, molecules such as immunoglobulin A (IgA) and milk oligosaccharides protect from gastrointestinal infections and influence the development of the gut microbiota. Deciphering the complex composition of breast milk brings to light multifaceted contributions that combine to make breast milk the ultimate personalized medicine.
Keywords: IgA; breast milk; lactase; lactose; microbiota; oligosaccharide.
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