Breast Milk Sugars Promote Healthy Infant Growth Through Gut Microbiome 

According to a study published in the journal Cell out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louise, there are key components in breast milk that promote healthy infant growth and how interactions with the gut bacteria drive this process.

The researchers say childhood malnutrition causes over three million deaths every year and leads to stunted growth as well as deficits in immune and cognitive development.

As seen in Malawi, Africa, the study found that there were more sugars containing sialic acid in the breast milk of mothers with healthy babies compared with the breast milk of mothers with stunted babies. Sialic acid has been implicated in brain development.

After accounting for different factors, the researchers took small animals and fed them the prototypical Malawian diet consisting of corn, legumes, vegetables, and fruit, which on its own is insufficient for healthy growth. They then compared the sugars in breast milk to that in cow’s milk. The results meshed with the previous result that the sialylated sugar is important in infant growth.

For more information, read the full study.

raziRazi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review ( and NaturalPath (, has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment