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Open AccessArticle

Lactoferrin in Human Milk of Prolonged Lactation

1
Neonatology Department, Wroclaw Medical University, Borowska 213, 50-556 Wroclaw, Poland
2
Department of Chemistry and Immunochemistry, Wroclaw Medical University, M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 48/50, 50-369 Wrocław, Poland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2350; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102350
Received: 19 July 2019 / Revised: 3 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 2 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding: Short and Long-Term Benefits to Baby and Mother)
Among the immunologically important bioactive factors present in human milk, lactoferrin (Lf) has emerged as a key player with wide-ranging features that directly and indirectly protect the neonate against infection caused by a variety of pathogens. The concentration of Lf in human milk is lactation-stage related; colostrum contains more than 5 g/L, which then significantly decreases to 2–3 g/L in mature milk. The milk of mothers who are breastfeeding for more than one year is of a standard value, containing macronutrients in a composition similar to that of human milk at later stages. The aim of this study was to evaluate lactoferrin concentration in prolonged lactation from the first to the 48th month postpartum. Lactating women (n = 120) up to 48 months postpartum were recruited to the study. The mean value of lactoferrin concentration was the lowest in the group of 1–12 months of lactation (3.39 ± 1.43 g/L), significantly increasing in the 13–18 months group (5.55 ± 4.00 g/L; p < 0.006), and remaining at a comparable level in the groups of 19–24 month and over 24 months (5.02 ± 2.97 and 4.90 ± 3.18 g/L, respectively). The concentration of lactoferrin in mother’s milk also showed a positive correlation with protein concentration over lactation from the first to the 48th month (r = 0.3374; p = 0.0002). Our results demonstrate the high immunology potential of human milk during prolonged lactation and that Lf concentration is close to the Lf concentration in colostrum. Evidence of stable or rising immunoprotein levels during prolonged lactation provides an argument for foregoing weaning; however, breastfeeding must be combined with solid foods meet the new requirements of a rapidly growing six-month or older baby. View Full-Text
Keywords: breastfeeding; lactoferrin; prolonged lactation; child nutrition breastfeeding; lactoferrin; prolonged lactation; child nutrition
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Czosnykowska-Łukacka, M.; Orczyk-Pawiłowicz, M.; Broers, B.; Królak-Olejnik, B. Lactoferrin in Human Milk of Prolonged Lactation. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2350.

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