Vegan mothers' milk also contain necessary nutrients for babies: study
A vegan diet - eating no animal products like meat, fish, or dairy - does not influence the B2 and carnitine in breast milk. Vegan mothers’ milk, therefore, provides sufficient nutrients for newborn babies’ development. It is safe for vegan mothers to breastfeed, researchers from the Emma Children’s Hospital of Amsterdam UMC concluded, NRC reports.
“It is known that nutrition can influence the composition of breast milk. But there is little research on the influence of a vegan diet, while more people are eating vegan,” researcher and Ph.D. candidate Hanna Juncker told the newspaper.
Amsterdam UMC has data on about 3,000 breastfeeding women. Juncker and her fellow researchers compared the breastmilk of 25 vegan mothers from this set to that of 25 mothers who have no exclusions in their diets. “We also looked at their blood values. Vitamin B2 had the same concentrations in both groups, in the blood and in eh milk. Carnitine, which is mainly found in animal products, turned out to be lower in the blood of vegan women. But the good thing is: it stays up to standard in the milk.”
Vitamin B2 and carmine are essential for newborn babies’ development. The body can’t produce B2, which is important for the proper functioning of proteins and regulates all kinds of biological processes. Carnitine converts fatty acids into energy. Adults produce it themselves. “But newborns mainly get it from food. If babies don’t get enough of it, they can get too low blood sugar. In severe cases, it affects the functioning of the heart and brain,” Juncker said.
The researchers can’t say for certain how vegan mothers’ bodies keep their B2 and carnitine levels up in the breast milk. “We think that it is regulated in the mammary gland, but we have not investigated the exact mechanism.”