415 Proteins Found in Breastmilk

The Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group at the University of Western Australia (UWA) has become globally recognised for conducting ground-breaking breastfeeding and breastmilk research. A few years ago the team of scientists discovered the presence of stem cells in breastmilk, thus bringing to light the remarkable developmental potential for the breastfed infant. Their most recent investigations have further confirmed the unsurpassed benefits of mothers own milk.

A new proteomics study from UWA identified a staggering 415 individual proteins present in breastmilk, over half of which had not previously been found in human milk. Each and every one with a purpose and each one created by humans for humans! In stark contrast the proteins in formula are designed by cows for calves (or soy/plant based), so not species specific, and they will have been processed in such a way that there will be limited functionality. This new discovery unarguably provides further evidence to support the breast is best campaign.

The research, which was part funded by an unrestricted grant from leading breastfeeding brand Medela AG (Switzerland) aimed to investigate in far more detail the intricacies and potency of breastmilk. Although there is a good understanding of the high abundance proteins present in breastmilk, the team felt passionate about conducting more research to provide a greater insight of the remarkable composition of breastmilk. These findings certainly provide a clearer understanding about the significant role breastmilk has in infant growth and development.

Commenting on the latest discovery about the diverse and extraordinary nature of breastmilk, Sioned Hilton, Education and Lactation Manager said: “Having worked with breastfeeding mums for more than 20 years I am truly passionate about supporting them to breastfeed. I am always inspired by new research and excited to think of what these findings tell us about the powerful nature of breastmilk.

She continued: “There are many known benefits of breastmilk. Not only is it tailor made for a baby’s individual and changing needs, it is free, always on tap, always sterile and always the right temperature. But, this new finding adds a new dimension to our understanding. Proteins have an important role in growth and development and are the building blocks of cells. Every baby should benefit from all 415 proteins available from their mother’s milk.”

This is a guest post from Medela
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