Concentrations of Fe, K, Na, Ca, P, Zn and Mg in Maternal Colostrum and Mature Milk

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The objective of this study was to determine the concentrations of Fe, K, Na, Ca, P, Zn and Mg in colostrum and mature milk (2 months) from nursing mothers, and the correlation between the concentration of these micronutrients and newborn weight, maternal age, gestational age (GA), inter-pregnancy interval, and gestational weight gain. Thirty one women donated milk on the 2nd postpartum day and on the 2nd month of lactation. Micronutrients were analysed by atomic emission spectrophotometry. The concentrations (mean±SD) of Fe (0.12±0.08; 0.09±0.5 mg/100 ml), Zn (0.93±0.36; 0.15±0.06 mg/100 ml), K (62.8±11.5; 46.2±0.84 mg/100 ml) and Na (33.3±12.3; 20.5±15.6 mg/100 ml) decreased from colostrum to mature milk, whereas Ca (21.4±5.8; 25.0±3.1 mg/100 ml) and P (11.12±2.8; 13.7±2.0 mg/100 ml) increased. Correlations were observed between Zn and Ca concentrations and GA (r=−0.41, p=0.042; r=0.48, p=0.014, respectively), between Ca and K and inter-pregnancy interval (r=0.56, p=0.001; r=0.38, p=0.033, respectively), and between Mg and P and maternal age (r=0.49, p=0.005; r=0.37, p=0.042, respectively). The Zn concentration in colostrum showed a negative correlation with gestational weight gain (r=−0.49, p=0.006), and Na concentration showed a negative correlation with newborn weight (r=−0.38, p=0.036). The concentration of micronutrients in colostrum and mature milk (2 months) suffers alterations, including a decrease in Fe, Zn, K and Na and an increase in Ca and P, probably in order to satisfy the requirements of the nursing infant. Micronutrients are influenced by birth weight, maternal age, gestational weight gain, GA and inter-pregnancy interval.

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