The unique composition of sugars in a mother’s breast milk may prevent food allergies in her infant, according to a study published in the latest issue of Allergy.
The study highlighted the health role of Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs), which are not found in infant formula, suggesting a potential for therapeutic interventions.
HMOs are structurally complicated sugar molecules unique to human breast milk, and the third most abundant solid component in human milk after lactose, a different type of sugar, and fat.
They are not actually digestible by infants, but could help guide development of the infant gut microbiota, which previous research suggests is a key influencer of allergic disease.
Previous studies have shown that breastfed infants have a lower risk for a variety of medical conditions, such as wheezing, infections, asthma, and obesity.