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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Copper, iron, and zinc contents of human milk at early stages of lactation

R M Feeley, R R Eitenmiller, J B Jones, H Barnhart
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1983, 37 (3): 443-8
6681932
The Cu, Fe, and Zn contents of early milk from 102 American mothers were examined in relation to stage of lactation, intake of prenatal mineral supplements, maternal age, parity, and previous history of lactation. A total of 412 samples was collected at three stages of lactation: early transitional (4 to 7 days postpartum); transitional (10 to 14 days postpartum); and mature (30 to 45 days postpartum). For the transitional and mature stages, representative samples of late evening (PM) and early morning (AM) feedings were collected. Diurnal variation in concentration was observed only for Fe. Concentrations of all elements decreased significantly at successive stages of lactation with Zn showing the greatest decline. Cu, Fe, and Zn contents (means +/- SEM) were 104.1 +/- 5.4, 96.5 +/- 6.5, and 520 +/- 20 micrograms/100 g in early transitional milk; 93.9 +/- 3.6, 85.4 +/- 4.5, and 410 +/- 10 micrograms/100 g in transitional milk, and 84.7 +/- 3.8, 76.1 +/- 3.8, and 290 +/- 10 micrograms/100 g in mature milk, respectively. No significant relationship was found between levels of Cu and Zn in milk and whether mothers had taken dietary supplements containing these elements. In addition, no significant correlations were found between maternal age, parity, or previous history of lactation and the elemental content of milk. Based on these data, it was estimated that fully breast-fed infants would receive approximately 0.11, 0.10, and 0.50 mg/kg per day of Cu, Fe, and Zn, respectively, during the neonatal period.

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