Preterm mother's milk contains lower concentrations of coenzyme Q10-an important antioxidant and a vital component of the electron transport chain, a new study has said.
Researchers at the University of Granada and at the University Hospital San Cecilio took a sample of 30 nursing mothers, of which 15 had completed their gestation and 15 were preterm mothers.
This study counted with the participation of a group of researchers of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology Jose Mataix, and with the collaboration of the Department of Pediatrics of the University Hospital San Cecilio of Granada, Spain.
The main objective of this study was to analyze the presence of coenzyme Q10 in breast milk and to examine variation in Q10 concentrations in the three stages of breast milk (colostrum, transitional and mature milk). The second goal was to determine whether the milk of mothers at term and that of preterm mothers have different Q10 concentrations.
For the study, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their eating habits, which was processed later with software developed by the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology 'Jose Mataix', of the University of Granada.
The milk samples were examined to measure -among other parameters- concentrations of coenzyme Q, tocopherol (isomers a, g and d) and the total antioxidant capacity of breast milk.
The study found that CoQ10 concentrations in mothers at term are 75 percent higher than in preterm mothers. Similar results were obtained regarding tocopherol.
The researchers believe that their study will make an important contribution to the area of infant nutrition.
"Having a deep understanding of the factors and components of human milk is paramount, as it can help in getting a better infant milk formula. This way, although a newborn can not benefit from breast milk, at least it will be given the opportunity to artificially benefit from the advantages of human milk," said the authors.