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Genetic and Physiological Factors Affecting Human Milk Production and Composition

The Fred Wyszkowski Cancer Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1500;
Received: 26 April 2020 / Revised: 17 May 2020 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published: 21 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics and Personalized Nutrition)
Human milk is considered the optimal nutrition for infants as it provides additional attributes other than nutritional support for the infant and contributes to the mother’s health as well. Although breastfeeding is the most natural modality to feed infants, nowadays, many mothers complain about breastfeeding difficulties. In addition to environmental factors that may influence lactation outcomes including maternal nutrition status, partner’s support, stress, and latching ability of the infant, intrinsic factors such as maternal genetics may also affect the quantitative production and qualitative content of human milk. These genetic factors, which may largely affect the infant’s growth and development, as well as the mother’s breastfeeding experience, are the subject of the present review. We specifically describe genetic variations that were shown to affect quantitative human milk supply and/or its qualitative content. We further discuss possible implications and methods for diagnosis as well as treatment modalities. Although cases of nutrient-deficient human milk are considered rare, in some ethnic groups, genetic variations that affect human milk content are more abundant, and they should receive greater attention for diagnosis and treatment when necessary. From a future perspective, early genetic diagnosis should be directed to target and treat breastfeeding difficulties in real time.
Keywords: Human milk; nutrition; nutrigenomics; nutrigenetics Human milk; nutrition; nutrigenomics; nutrigenetics
MDPI and ACS Style

Golan, Y.; Assaraf, Y.G. Genetic and Physiological Factors Affecting Human Milk Production and Composition. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1500.

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