Lower polyamine levels in breast milk of obese mothers compared to mothers with normal body weight

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Abstract

Background

Obesity is associated with risks for mother and infant, and the mothers' dietary habits influence breast milk composition. Polyamines are secreted in breast milk and are essential for the regulation of intestinal and immune function in newborns and infants. The present study aimed to investigate the level of polyamines in human milk obtained from obese and normal weight mothers at different times of lactation.

Methods

Breast milk from 50 mothers was obtained at day 3, and at 1 and 2 months after delivery. The mothers had normal body weight [body mass index (BMI) < 25 kg m–2] or were obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2). A subgroup of obese mothers participated in a weight reduction programme during pregnancy. Polyamines were analysed using high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results

The total polyamine content was significantly lower at all times in breast milk from obese mothers compared to milk from controls. Spermine levels did not differ between groups at any time in contrast to the levels of putrescine and spermidine. Putrescine concentrations were highest on day 3 and spermidine and spermine were highest at 1 month of lactation. The obese mothers, who received dietary advice during pregnancy based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, had higher concentrations of putrescine and spermidine in their milk than the obese mothers without any intervention.

Conclusions

Polyamine concentrations were lower in breast milk from obese mothers compared to mothers with a normal weight. General dietary intervention in obese mothers increased the polyamine levels, suggesting that the low levels in obesity were at least partly associated with food habits. However, the consistency of spermine suggests a special metabolic function of this polyamine.

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