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Docosahexaenoic Acid in Mature Breast Milk of Low-income Mothers

Visentin, Silvana*; Malpeli, Agustina*; Fasano, Victoria*,†; Falivene, Mariana*; Malizia, Betiana E.*; González, Horacio F.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: May 2019 - Volume 68 - Issue 5 - p 738–741
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002284
Short Communications: Nutrition
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ABSTRACT Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is among the main components of synaptosomal membranes and myelin sheaths. Because DHA is essential for child neurodevelopment, breast milk DHA levels should be improved by optimizing maternal nutrition. We determined DHA percentage levels in breast milk of low-income mothers receiving care at the public healthcare sector. We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional study in breast milk samples from 39 exclusively breast-feeding adult mothers with normal fetal and neonatal history. Samples were collected 90 ± 7 days after delivery. Breast milk fatty acid composition was determined by gas chromatography. The cut-off value of DHA was 0.3% of total fatty acids in milk according to recommendations. Median DHA in milk was 0.14% (0.12–0.21). Breast milk DHA levels were lower than the minimum recommended in 92% of samples. The analysis of breast milk samples from low-income exclusively breast-feeding mothers showed that they did not reach the minimum recommended DHA percentage.

*IDIP – Instituto de Desarrollo e Investigaciones Pediátricas “Prof. Dr. Fernando E. Viteri”, Hospital de Niños “Sor María Ludovica” de La Plata, Ministerio de Salud/Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

Departamento de Matemática, Facultad Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Silvana Visentin, Biochemist, IDIP – Instituto de Desarrollo e Investigaciones Pediátricas “Prof. Dr. Fernando E. Viteri”, Hospital de Niños “Sor María Ludovica” de La Plata, Calle 63 No 1069, 1900 La Plata, Argentina (e-mail: silvisentin@hotmail.com).

Received 6 June, 2018

Accepted 29 December, 2018

This study received funding from IDIP.

The authors report no conflicts of interests.

© 2019 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,