In numerous studies scientists have proven that breastfeeding has a positive effect on children’s health. For example, it was proved in 2016, when U.S. scientists analyzed the condition of 180 children who were fed breast milk during the first 28 days of life. In the course of scientific work they found that contained in breast milk substances have a positive effect on intelligence development of infants. Scientists from the California and Los Angeles began to wonder exactly what substances contribute to the development of mental abilities and concluded that a significant role is played by the so-called oligosaccharides. But what are these substances and in what period of time they affect the mental abilities of the children the most?
On the conducted research and its results has been written in the scientific journal Plos One. The benefits of breast milk oligosaccharides (OGM), which in large quantities contained in breast milk has been known to scientists and earlier. Most useful oligosaccharide is the so-called 2’-fucosyllactose, which reduces the likelihood of problems with the digestion of the baby and strengthens the necessary for protection against infectious diseases immunity. It turned out that in addition to this, the oligosaccharides are responsible for the proper development of the brain.
The benefits of breast milk
Conducted by American scientists in the study involved 50 pairs of mothers and their children. The research determined the concentration of oligosaccharides in breast milk of women and assessed the level of cognitive development of children through 24 months after birth. To determine the level of development used test is the Bayley-III, which was developed by psychologist Nancy Bayley and is the standard system for analysis of the development of the mental development of children aged 1 to 42 months.
Thanks to new technologies we were able to quickly and accurately determine the amount of oligosaccharides in breast milk of women and to find a relationship between differences in the composition of milk with particular characteristics in children — shared specialist in Pediatrics Lars Bode.
In the course of scientific work it was found that an increased amount of 2’-of fucosyllactose in breast milk in the first month of feeding increased the indicators of cognitive development in children up to 2 years of age. However, six months after the birth of the child the use of the oligosaccharide began to decline. This may be a hint that the beneficial impact of 2’-fucosyllactose on the brain development of the child is relevant only in the first years of his life.
According to scientists, their discovery allows the development of recommendations for mothers experiencing problems with breastfeeding child. Perhaps in the future researchers will develop a method of increasing 2’-fucosyllactose in breast milk, or find another way to maintain high speed development of mental abilities of childrenwho eat special mixtures.