Researchers Are Saying Breast Milk Is The New Popular Supplement Due To Its Countless Health Benefits

Breast milk can reportedly boost immunity and sharpen brain function.

A baby drinks from a bottle.
Beeki / Pixabay

Breast milk can reportedly boost immunity and sharpen brain function.

For years, scientists have known that breast milk is like gold for newborn babies. It’s rich in healthy sugars and good bacteria that is essential for a child’s growth and development. While not every mother is physically capable of breastfeeding their baby, doctors often encourage them to do so if able because of the nutritional benefits it yields for infants. While it was previously thought that breast milk was only for babies, researchers are now looking at it as a new health supplement for full grown adults, according to Bloomberg.

It may seem a little bizarre to consider consuming another woman’s breast milk as an adult. However, researchers are trying to create a synthetic substitute that contains all the health benefits of the real thing. Chemical companies such as DowDuPont Inc. have been looking into what exactly makes breast milk so nutritious. The magic ingredient is an indigestible sugar known as human milk oligosaccharide, or HMO. After lactose and fat, HMO is the third most common solid found within human breast milk. It avoids digestion and heads straight to the colon where it can yield the healthy kind of bacteria that boosts the immune system.

Baby formula companies are trying to replicate HMO as closely as possible so that formula-fed babies can yield the same benefits that they would being breastfed.

Rachael Buck leads HMO research at Similac formula-maker Abbott Laboratories. She spoke highly of the nutritional benefits of HMO.

“It’s just been a fascinating treasure trove of benefits that we’ve uncovered,” she said.

Essentially, HMOs lend a helping hand to a baby’s immune system by working to fight off infection and speed up brain development. It could serve similar health benefits to probiotics for full grown adults. Health experts have raved about probiotics in recent years, a type of good bacteria that can be found in types of yogurt as well as other products.

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Chemical company BASF SE is currently researching ways that HMOs might be worked into products adults can consume as well, rather than just baby formulas.

Stefan Ruedenauer, BASF director of human nutrition research and development, emphasized that this could just be the beginning of a new wide spread health trend.

“Our aim is to expand on our scientific know-how on specific health functions of HMOs to adults as well. BASF will have a pipeline of science-driven products with substantial health benefits of HMOs in the near future.”