Allergy is a modern disease which does not seem to benefit from breast milk preventive effects. We propose that maternal milk composition has not adapted to the needs of allergy prevention because of the recent and rapid increase of allergy. Modulation of breast milk composition may be the best strategy to counteract allergy development. We will review recent advances in understanding of allergy physiopathology and how breast milk factors may be specifically appropriate to interfere with allergy development in early life.
There is strong evidence both from rodent and human studies that breast milk factors may impact on parameters which are now recognized to be essential for allergy physiopathology: infant gut barrier function, microbiota metabolites production, and oral tolerance induction. Data from human cohorts support the possibility to modify breast milk composition by selected interventions and to impact health outcomes in offspring.
Nutritional intervention in lactating mothers should endow breast milk with the capacity to combat allergy epidemics in addition to infectious disease.
aDepartment of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, UK
bInternational Inflammation Network (in-FLAME) of the World Universities Network, Perth, Australia
cEA 6302 University Nice Sophia-Antipolis, TIM, Nice, France
dFaculty of Pediatrics, I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Russia
eChair of Human Lactology, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Correspondence to Valérie Verhasselt, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, 6009 Perth, WA, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com