Carotenes: supplement the mother to supply the baby?

By 17. juni 2014Blog, Health, Nutrition

Lutein is a carotene found in a number of food sources such as green leafy vegetables, egg yolk and dandelion flowers (yes they are edible).

Like other carotenes it cannot be produced in the body and so we need to get it from our food. Lutein is a carotene of particular interest because it is the dominant carotene in the adult and infant brain and is the only carotene found in the neural retina.

A paper published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrates that when breast feeding mothers are supplemented with either high or low doses of lutein, the amount of lutein in the breast milk increases even more than the level in mother’s blood plasma, i.e. the lutein (and other carotenes) are actively transported into the milk. This led to an increase in the amount in the babies blood compared to the control group.

Apparently the effect is greatest in early milk. So, looks like you poor breast feeding mothers out there have yet another pill that you should consider popping.

Still, it’s all for the breast, when you think about it.

The paper is available ahead of print from the Journal of Nutrition website.