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Splash! Milk Science Update | International Milk Genomics Consortium

Keep up to date on the latest discoveries and news in milk science with our bi-monthly publication SPLASH! ®

Current Issue #112

Issue Date: January 2023

Gut Microbiome-targeting IgG Antibodies in Maternal Milk Protect Newborn Mice
By: Jyoti Madhusoodanan

Maternal milk is a potent cocktail of food and medicine: in addition to nutrients such as sugars and fats, it also carries antibodies that protect infants from various infections. IgG antibodies against commensal gut bacteria are present in mother’s milk and help newborns combat infections. A study in mice suggests that the transfer of IgG antibodies in milk is even more important than transfer via the placenta.

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Consuming Dairy Products Helps Guard against Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Older Adults
By: Anna Petherick, Ph.D.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for health. If your body is not absorbing enough of it, various health problems eventually emerge, among them anaemia, and neurological and psychological difficulties, such as struggling to walk or to see properly, and depression. For this reason, studies that guide people’s dietary choices towards getting enough vitamin B12 can make valuable contributions to public health. Vitamin B12 is crucial for health. If your body is not absorbing enough of it, various health problems eventually emerge, among them anaemia, and neurological and psychological difficulties, such as struggling to walk or to see properly, and depression. For this reason, studies that guide people’s dietary choices towards getting enough vitamin B12 can make valuable contributions to public health.

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Can Prehistoric Disease and Famine Explain the Evolution of Lactase Persistence in Europe?
By: Lauren Milligan Newmark, Ph.D.

Lactase persistence (LP) has been the textbook example for a genetic adaptation to the human diet for decades. But despite its renown, the evolutionary advantage of the LP phenotype—the ability of humans to digest the milk sugar lactose throughout the lifespan—is still under debate.

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Farm Exposures Influence Human Milk Composition and Might Reduce Allergies
By: Jyoti Madhusoodanan

Across the world, shifting from a traditional to an industrialized lifestyle changes the gut microbiome of adults. This same shift in lifestyle has also been correlated with an uptick in asthma and other allergies in children—conditions that are often preceded by changes in the gut microbiome. At present, food allergies affect approximately 1 in 13—or approximately 8 percent—of children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But these conditions are rarer in children born to families that follow traditional farm-based lifestyles. For instance, fewer than 1 percent of children born in Old Order Mennonite families are diagnosed with these conditions.

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