Iron, zinc, and copper concentrations in breast milk are independent of maternal mineral status

Magnus Domellöf, Bo Lönnerdal, Kathryn G Dewey, Roberta J Cohen, Olle Hernell
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004, 79 (1): 111-5

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the regulation of iron, zinc, and copper in breast milk and the transport of these minerals across the mammary gland epithelium.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to study associations between breast-milk concentrations of iron, zinc, and copper and maternal mineral status.

DESIGN: Milk samples from 191 Swedish and Honduran mothers were collected at 9 mo postpartum. Iron, zinc, and copper concentrations were measured by atomic absorption spectrometry. Blood samples from mothers were analyzed for plasma zinc and copper and 4 indexes of iron status: hemoglobin, plasma ferritin, soluble transferrin receptors, and zinc protoporphyrin. Complementary food energy (CFE) intake was used as an inverse proxy for breast-milk intake.

RESULTS: Mean (+/-SD) breast-milk concentrations of iron were lower in the Honduran than in the Swedish mothers (0.21 +/- 0.25 compared with 0.29 +/- 0.21 mg/L; P < 0.001), and mean breast-milk concentrations of zinc and copper were higher in the Honduran than in the Swedish mothers [0.70 +/- 0.18 compared with 0.46 +/- 0.26 mg/L (P < 0.001) and 0.16 +/- 0.21 compared with 0.12 +/- 0.22 mg/L (P = 0.001), respectively]. Milk iron was positively correlated with CFE intake (r = 0.24, P = 0.001) but was not significantly correlated with any iron-status variable. Milk zinc was negatively correlated with CFE intake (r = -0.24, P = 0.001) but was not significantly correlated with maternal plasma zinc. Milk copper was not significantly correlated with CFE intake or maternal plasma copper.

CONCLUSIONS: Milk iron, zinc, and copper concentrations at 9 mo postpartum are not associated with maternal mineral status, which suggests active transport mechanisms in the mammary gland for all 3 minerals. Milk iron concentrations increase and milk zinc concentrations decrease during weaning [corrected]

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"