Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in breast milk in La Plata, Argentina: relationship with maternal nutritional status
Milk fat is the major source of energy for breastfed infants; it also supplies polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) essential for the development of brain, retina, and other organs. Maternal nutritional status is critical for the newborn, and little information exists regarding the PUFA status of vulnerable populations living in Southern regions. We studied the relationship between maternal nourishment and milk fatty acid composition. Mother nutritional status (normal, overweight or obese) was estimated on the body mass index. Milk protein, total lipid, and fatty acid composition were determined. Milk protein was not affected by mother’s nutritional status. In obese mothers an increase in lipid content, linoleic acid, total n-6 and total polyunsaturated fatty acids was observed comparing to the other groups. Disregarding the nutritional status, the ratio n-6/n-3 fatty acids was very high and the 22:6n-3 content was very low, when compared with those of mothers from other countries. This finding led us to urge Public Health officers to promote changes in the dietary habits of nursing women.