hero image

A recent study published in PNAS reveals that breast milk contains an important component called myo-inositol, which aids in the formation of neural connections in infants’ brains. This discovery highlights the significance of dietary factors, including myo-inositol found in fruits and grains, in promoting healthy brain development.

Breast milk has a compound that helps in infant’s brain development

Lead study investigator Professor Thomas Biederer said that the micronutrients’ effect on the brain are quite under appreciated. The neuroscientist said that their findings are quite stunning considering the role breast milk plays in Brian development.

Breast milk has been shown to enhance infants’ cognitive development, but the reasons behind this were not fully known. Previous studies suggest that breast milk contains unidentified components that contribute to these advantages. Biederer highlights that breast milk is abundant in bioactive compounds whose effects on the infant brain are still being explored. These compounds play a crucial role in supporting the developmental processes of the infant brain.

Researchers sought to examine samples from three different geographic locations to investigate the potential biological significance of micronutrients found in breast milk, regardless of factors such as race, diet, and location. They specifically focused on identifying components that exhibited consistent changes throughout the lactation period.

Myo-inositol abundant in breast milk during early stages of lactation

During their study, the team observed that myo-inositol was abundant in all breast milk samples during the early stages of lactation, but gradually decreased as lactation progressed. Significantly, this nutrient exhibited the same temporal pattern across all three locations studied.

Study findings demonstrate the importance of breast milk as a source of calories and also an important component in the development of the baby’s brain. Breast milk is a rich in nutrients and the mother’s bod has been attuned to change its composition to meet needs to the baby at different developmental stages. Biederer concludes that that the findings emphasize the importance of policies supporting breast feeding since this will benefit the child and society as a whole. Most importantly these findings can guide future dietary recommendation for pediatrics nutrition.