Breast Milk
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Breast Milk & Ovulation

Breast Fed Have Higher IQs: An 18 year follow-up study of 1000 kids found better academic performance in infants who were breast fed: 38% greater likelihood to finish high school and higher IQs. Twenty other studies have mostly most found similar results. Horwood, New Zealand, Pediatrics 1/98;101: Ed: Since breast milk has higher omega-3 levels than most infant formulas, the thinking is that this may be playing a role in the higher academic outcome.

Vegans Lowest in Omega-3s: Vegans apparently had the least omega-3s in breast milk maybe due to more omega-6s in grains than omnivores and a much lower intake of EPA and DHA in their diets. 

Omega-3s Said to Increase Milk Production: Omega-3 deficiency decreases milk production. Omega-3s help in breast engorgement by opening up the flow. The author says donít use flax oil for cooking. Says 2% of calories in diet = Ĺ tsp for infant not nursing, 1-2 tsp for 1-2yo, 2 tsp for kids, 1-2 Tsp for adults. Can add to infant formula and rub on abdomen. Leigh Broadhurst PhD at Beltsville. Lipid perosides if heat oil which are bitter and rancid and easy to taste.

Omega-3s Fluctuate Radically in Breast Milk: Lipids 2002 Mar;37(3):237-44. Omega-3 breast milk levels fluctuated by 8200% on mornings after eating fish vs mornings after no fish. Women not eating fish and given fish oil capsules found peak breast milk content 10 hours after and lasted 24 hours.

Flax Decreases Anovulatory Cycles: A University of Minnesota study with flaxseeds found longer luteal phases with increases in the progesterone:estradiol ratio in luteal phase with fewer anovulatory cycles and less ovarian dysfunction. Ovarian dysfunction may be linked to cancer. A Washington State University study with whole wheat bread with flax seeds eaten for 6 weeks with increase in enteros in urine with hormones change. Bowen found secoisolariciresinal in urine of men fed flax. Therefore absorbed intact this chemical and also converted some to lignans. Jan Ziegler, www.cancernet.nci.nhi.gov. without omega-3. Breast milk much higher than formula but still only 1/5 to 1/10 that of Nigerian women who eat lots of nuts. Says a 3/91 Mayo Clinic study found all 19 nursing women were deficient.; 18 healthy women 3 mo control diet and 3 months flax. 3 anovulatory periods on control and none on flax. Phipps, J Clin Endocrin Metab 11/93;77:1215 @

Important in Infant Formula: Rats diet deficient in alpha-linolenic acid learning impaired. Long-chain PUFA (greater than C-18), e.g. DHA, accum esp in last trimester and first months of life in brain. Breast milk with LCPUFA but not older infant formula. LCPUFA lower in formula fed RBC and brain unless formula with LCPUFA. Improved visual acuity in infants fed DHA vs formula without. DHA and arachidonic acid helped 4-month olds vs formulas without tho benefit on psychomotor development not mesureable at 12 mo. Randomized trial formulas for 44 infants with and without LCPUFA during first 4 months of life. Infants on LCPUFA did clearly better on cognitive testing at 10 mo. Cognitive problem solving testing correlates with IQ at age 3. C20:4n-6 (AA), C22:6omega-3 (DHA). Weaning foods are low in LCPUFA (Am J Clin Nutr í89 50:980-82). Accumulation of PUFA in cell membr of CNS speeds up info processing. Preterm infants randomised to DHA supplements show shorter looking times in Fagan test of infant inelligence. Same with higher omega-3 for infant rhesus monkeys. Shorter looking times means faster reaction times and less difficulty with disengagement. P Willatts, U Dundee, Lancet 8/29/98. 352:688-91

DHA in Formula Helps Brain: U Milan study infants whose formula with LCPUFA, esp DHA, have better brains than formula without. Direct correlation DHA in RBCs of infants and visual accuity. Carlo Agostoni, Lancet 9/2/95;346:638.

Lecithin AA-DHA in Formula Minimal Help: Says studies show pre-term infants given DHA have transiently better visual acuity and normal term infants results are mixed. Study used lecithin in formula to incr AA and DHA (0.1%) to levels of American female breast milk. 40 infants DB PC found improved acuity only at 2 mo and not thereafter. Carlson, U Tenn, Ped Res 5/96;39:882

No Benefit Rx Mothers Post-Partum DHA in DB Study: 52 breast feeding women Rx DB with half Rx DHA suppl 1st 12 wk post-partum. Infant DHA strongly related to maternal DHA but no benefit visual or neurol testing out to two years. Gibson, Adelaide, Eur J Clin Nutr 9/97;51:578

Italian Breast Milk: 20 women sampled 12 times in 1st month pp. Saturated=45%, Unsat 55%. Monounsat 43%, polyunsat 12%. LCPUFA 1.27%. Linoleic 10%, alpha linolenic 0.36%. Appears similar to other southern European countries. Biology of Neonate Abstract 001, Vol 72 (1) S. Karger.

Infant-Mother Levels: Infant omega-3 levels are strongly related to maternal levels at birth. A high maternal LA intake may lower her omega-3 levels and those of her infant. J Am Coll Nutr 2/96 15:49.