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Efficient Analytical Methods for Breastmilk Micronutrients

Lindsay Allen of ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center in the U.S. will develop methods to rapidly and accurately measure concentrations of multiple micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in small volumes of human breast milk. This will enable them to test whether micronutritional supplements during lactation can boost infant health and development. In Phase I, they established new methods to detect low concentrations of specific micronutrients including vitamin B12, iron, copper and zinc. These were used to show that, compared to well-nourished women, breast milk from undernourished women often had substantially lower levels of specific micronutrients, most of which could be increased by supplementation. They also established a sampling protocol for best obtaining and handling breast milk for analysis. In Phase II, they will perform a systematic review of the literature on breast milk composition, set-up an advisory board, and prepare for a multicenter trial to identify reference values for all the relevant nutrients in breast milk.

More information about Explore Nutrition for Healthy Growth of Infants and Children (Round 8)

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