A new study regarding breast milk and genes was recently released and the news, not surprisingly, is that breast milk...
A new study regarding breast milk and genes was recently released and the news, not surprisingly, is that breast milk is the best, most top notch meal for your baby. The new research study, set to appear in the June 2010 issue of the American Journal of Physiology, Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, notes that when University of Illinois scientists compared the early development of breast-fed and formula-fed babies the difference between the babies is very real and significant. For the first time, scientists have tracked the genes that operate in an infant's intestine and what scientists found is that, "Breast milk induces genetic pathways that are quite different from those in formula-fed infants." Professor Sharon Donovan also notes, "Although formula makers have tried to develop a product that's as much like breast milk as possible, hundreds of genes were expressed differently in the breast-fed and formula-fed groups." Breast-fed and formula-fed babies seem to develop similarly, and both sets of infants gain weight about the same and seem to be healthy but breastfed babies have the additional benefit of immune-protective components found only in breast milk. These components lower a baby's risk for multiple illnesses. Scientists found the most differences in the genes of babies that regulate the development of the intestine and provide immune defense for the infant. One example of how breast feeding changes genes is that more breastfed babies than formula fed babies possess a gene involved with the cell's response to oxygen deprivation. Lack of oxygen can result in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a gangrene of the intestine. This disease can be fatal for premature babies. But breastfed babies may be less at risk due to the fact that they have this gene related to O2 deprivation. This new research is just one good reason among many to give breastfeeding a try. Read more about this study.

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