The Essentiality of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Breast Milk During Human Lactation

Chapter · December 2007with10 Reads
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-59745-330-1_9
In book: Wild-Type Food in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, pp.115-120


    The case is described of a European woman in her thirties whose diet contained very little n-3 longchain polyunsaturated fatty
    acids apart from an intake of one docosahexaenoic acid-enriched egg daily over the previous 6 yr. This enrichment process
    was carried out by feeding hens a diet close to that of their wild ancestor, the Jungle Fowl, by including a wider range of
    seeds and green vegetation than is normally the case in modern farming practice. During this period the subject had two full-term
    normal pregnancies. Analyses of her breast milk during the postnatal periods have consistently shown that her milk was richer
    in both eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6n-3) than average European human milk from lactating
    women. This study demonstrates that it is ideal for lactating women to consume a dietary source of long-chain polyunsaturated
    fatty acids from which they can provide both eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid for their baby. The study also
    indicates that current average Western human milk is considerably lower in eicosapentaenoic acid than is optimal and we would
    recommend further study in this area to define optimal fatty acid levels for lactating women based on a balanced source of
    dietary lipids, rather than one based on a diet lacking in these fatty acids which we believe produces inadequate levels of
    eicosapentaenoic acid in human milk.