The metabolism of the child depends on a healthy diet while breastfeeding

Nail Balanced diet during the lactation period, it manages to normalize the content of lipids (concentrations of different types of fats) in breast milk and prevent metabolic alterations in the offspring. This has been confirmed by a recent study carried out by a team from the Obesity and Nutrition area of ​​the Online Biomedical Research Center (Ciberobn) of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and the Balearic Islands Health Research Institute. Islands (Idisba), in collaboration with the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The results were published in the journal Molecular nutrition and food research.

Through this study, we sought to evaluate, in an animal model, if the normalization of maternal diet during breastfeeding manages to prevent the harmful effects exerted by the consumption of an obesogenic diet (which promotes obesity in humans) before and during pregnancy on the lipidome or lipidomic profile (the set of hundreds of lipids) in the milk and plasma of the offspring, and it has been found that it is possible to achieve this.

This new knowledge is relevant because, in addition to the existing evidence on the importance of the nutritional environment during fetal life for the correct growth and subsequent health of the offspring, it shows that the recovery of a healthier maternal diet during lactation may prevent, at least in part, metabolic disorders in offspring caused by poor diet and obesity during the prenatal stages.

Obesity and Nutrition team, with Andreu Palou and Catalina Picó up front. Photo: CA/UIB.

Chronic pathologies

Previous intervention studies in animal models have shown that taking an obesogenic diet during the perinatal period affects mammary gland function and, therefore, milk composition, meaning that these alterations can “program “the offspring for a greater propensity to develop chronic pathologies in adulthood. Based on this, the researchers found it interesting to study possible intervention strategies during the lactation period to prevent the adverse effects caused by an unbalanced maternal diet during pregnancy, or even earlier. To do this, they analyzed the lipidomic profile to determine the alterations that could be involved in the risk of the offspring developing diseases at later stages, also analyzing the plasma profile of the offspring in the last stage of lactation.

The results of this study showed that maternal consumption of an obesogenic diet throughout the perinatal period (specifically, from one month before pregnancy and during pregnancy and lactation) causes a marked change in the lipid composition of the milk and plasma of their young at a young age. These alterations were largely reversed both in the milk of mothers fed a balanced diet during lactation and in the plasma of their offspring. The authors of the study, led by Dr. Catalina Picó, are currently studying to what extent these results (obtained in an animal model) can be extrapolated to humans. In any case, they recommend extreme caution in feeding during lactation, a critical period in which it is possible to correct metabolic alterations in the offspring.

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