Am J Hum Biol 2019 May 25;31(3):e23238. Epub 2019 Mar 25.
Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Objectives: This study explored differing levels of macronutrients in breast milk in relation to maternal anemia and hemoglobin.
Methods: Archived milk specimens and data from a cross-sectional sample of 208 breastfeeding mothers in northern Kenya, originally collected in 2006, were analyzed; data included milk fat, maternal hemoglobin concentration, and anemia status (anemia defined as hemoglobin <12 g/dL). Total protein and lactose were measured and energy was calculated. To explore the association between milk outcomes (fat, protein, lactose, and energy) and anemia, regression models were constructed with and without adjustment for maternal age, parity, and time (days) postpartum. The same models were constructed using hemoglobin as a continuous predictor in lieu of dichotomous anemia to explore the role of hemoglobin levels and anemia severity in predicting milk outcomes.
Results: The group comparison indicated significantly higher milk protein and lower milk fat for anemic mothers relative to nonanemic counterparts. After adjustment for maternal age, parity, and time postpartum, maternal anemia was associated with significantly higher milk protein (P = 0.001) and significantly lower milk fat (P = 0.025). Hemoglobin had a significant inverse relationship with milk protein (P = 0.017) and a marginally significant positive relationship with milk fat (P = 0.060) after adjusting for the maternal variables. Neither anemia nor hemoglobin was significant in predicting lactose or milk energy.
Conclusions: Maternal anemia and hemoglobin concentration may be associated with complex changes in milk macronutrients. Future research should clarify the impact of maternal anemia on a range of breast milk components while accounting for other maternal characteristics.
The impact of food insecurity and food‐based coping on serum folate status: A case study among breastfeeding Ariaal women in northern Kenya. [Abstract] Apland A. et al. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2016
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