Researchers from the NJH (National Jewish Health) and the University of Iowa have identified a compound in human breast milk that helps fight against infections by harmful bacteria and allows beneficial bacteria to develop. Human breast milk contains 200 times the amount of glycerol monooleate (GML) found in cow’s milk. The infant formula has nothing to do with it. GML is cheaper to manufacture. Future research will determine whether GML is a beneficial additive to cow’s milk and infant formula.
“Our findings show that high-grade GMLs are unique to human breast milk and strongly inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria,” says Dr. Donald Leung, a professor of pediatrics and author of the National Jewish Health Journal.
“Antibiotics can fight bacterial infections in infants, but they kill destructive bacteria with pathogens,” said Ph.D. Patrick Schlewert, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Carver Medical School in Iowa and the first author of the scientific paper.
“GML is more selective, fighting only pathogenic bacteria and allowing beneficial species to thrive. We think that GML has a great promise as a potential additive to cows’ milk and infant formula, which can promote the health of infants around the world. “
After determining that GML is higher than cows’ milk in human breast milk, researchers have shown that human breast milk Prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Clostridium perfringens. Human breast milk Enterococcus fossilis did not inhibit bacterial growth. Infants fed on human breast milk have high beneficial bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and enterococci bacteria.
When the researchers removed the GML from human breast milk, the S.I, the antimicrobial activity against Aries, was lost. When they added GML to cow’s milk, it became an antimicrobial.
Researchers have shown that GML prevents inflammation in the epithelial cells, which lines the intestinal tract and other mucosal surfaces. Inflammation can damage the epithelial cells and cause bacterial and viral infections.
DR. Schlevert and Leung have applied for a patent to use GML as a beneficial additive to cattle’s milk and infant formula. National Jewish Health is the nation’s premier respiratory hospital. Founded more than 120 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health is the only facility in the world dedicated to underground medical research and treatment for patients with respiratory, cardiovascular, immune and related disorders.