Friday November 22, 2019

Tired of Taking Antibiotics? Sugars in Breast Milk May Protect You Against Bacterial Infections, Says New Study

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually

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Breast milk is believed to be the healthiest nutrition
Feeding your baby breast mil for the first 6 months is recommended for the nutritional benefits it provides. Pixabay
  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes more about 23,000 deaths annually.
  • Breast milk helps newborns fight bacterial infections
  • Researchers discover natural sugars that can reduce human dependence on antibiotics

Washington DC, August 22, 2017 : Newborns and infants are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and diseases. In the face of medical challenges, young mothers tend to look for remedies that cater to the problem with the least possible side-effects. In a latest study by a Washington DC University, it has been revealed that the mother’s milk consists of a unique blend of fats, proteins, and sugars that help protect babies against bacterial infection.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, mother’s milk is supposed to be the only nutrition for a newborn for the first six months.

Breastfeeding is one of the key phases to nurture a newborn. Combined with antibodies and nutrients, the practice is not only beneficial to the baby but for the mothers as well.

Breast milk addresses a multitude of problems and diseases in children,

  • Lowers risk of allergies and asthma
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses and chances of diarrhea.

Apart from these, researches have not revealed that it also helps babies fight against bacterial infections.

ALSO READ: What Mothers are Complaining about this World Breastfeeding Week 2017

An interdisciplinary team of doctors and chemists at the Vanderbilt University have discovered that carbohydrates in a mother’s milk possess a complex blend of antibacterial properties. Additionally, the research also revealed that apart from their own qualities, the presence of these carbohydrates also enhances the efficacy of antibacterial proteins present in the milk.

Calling it an example of a comprehensive antimicrobial action by the carbohydrates present in the mother’s milk,  according to Steven Townsend, the director of the study, “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics”, as per a report by ANI.

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually.

Additionally researchers asserted that pregnant women are the most common hosts to group B strep bacteria, which cause severe infections in newborns. These infections often lead to pneumonia or sepsis, and in extreme cases death due to the absence of properly developed defense mechanisms in newborns.

However, group B strep bacteria rarely infect babies.

This motivated the researches to undertake a research to address the growing number of deaths and to probe whether the mother’s milk contains specific protective compounds that fight these bacteria in babies.

Previously, it was believed by biochemists that proteins are the most important followed by carbohydrates. “Far less is known about the function of sugars, and as a trained glycoprotein chemist, I wanted to explore their role,” asserted Townsend.

The Research

For the research, the carbohydrate in human milk, also known as oligosaccharides, was collected from different donor samples. The samples were then summarized with a mass spectrometry technique that is used to identify large biomolecules. The obtained compound was then added to strep cultures which were then observed using a microscope.

The study showed that the sugars found in breast milk in such cases can act as anti-biofilms agents. To put it simply, the researchers observed that the sugars not only sensitized the target bacteria but also killed them. Some of the oligosaccharides directly fought the infecting bacteria. Additionally the carbohydrate compounds also broke down the biofilms that the bacteria form to protect themselves.

ALSO READ: World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 Focuses on Using Antibiotics with Care

It ha been revealed that these powerful sugars can potentially become part of an antibacterial treatment for adults and infants alike, thus reducing our dependence on artificially produced antibiotics.

This study has been published and is now a part of the ACS Infectious Diseases journal.


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Next Story

WHO Demands Strict Regulations on Vaping Products

WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth

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WHO
The World Health Organization also known as WHO says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction. Wikimedia Commons

The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products.

Health officials are increasingly worried about the risks posed by e-cigarettes as reported cases of deaths and illnesses from these devices spread from the United States to Europe and beyond. They see the recent death of a young man in Belgium and reports of vaping-related illnesses in the Philippines and other countries in the world as a call to action.

The World Health Organization says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction.  WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier tells VOA these industry health claims are unproven.

“While these electronic nicotine delivery systems may be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, this does not make them harmless,” he said.  “They produce aerosols from the vapor that contain toxicants that can result in a range of significant pathological changes.  These ends pose health risks for nonsmokers, to minors, to pregnant women — all of those who should not use such systems.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 42 deaths in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 2,100 illnesses related to vaping products.

WHO
The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products. Pixabay

Vaping is an extremely profitable growth industry.  The number of people using vaping devices has increased from 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018.  Profits have nearly tripled, from $6.9 billion five years ago to more than $19 billion today.  Getting the tobacco industry to refrain from the sale of electronic smoking devices will be extremely difficult.

The World Health Organization says long-term studies of health implications of electronic nicotine devices should begin.  In the meantime, the U.N. health agency is issuing recommendations that in some ways mirror those enacted to control tobacco use.

ALSO READ: Smart Bulbs Can Steal Personal Information Through Hacking

WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth; measures should be taken to minimize the potential risks to users and others from these devices, and the tobacco industry should be prohibited from using unproven health claims to market vaping products.  (VOA)