Components of Human Milk

As you might guess from this list, human milk is such a complex substance, it is impossible to replicate!

Water

Carbohydrates (energy source)

Lactose

Oligosaccharides (see below)

Carboxylic acid

Alpha hydroxy acid

Lactic acid

Proteins (building muscles and bones)

Whey protein

Alpha-lactalbumin

HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells)

Lactoferrin

Many antimicrobial factors (see below)

Casein

Serum albumin

Non-protein nitrogens

Creatine

Creatinine

Urea

Uric acid

Peptides (see below)

Amino Acids (the building blocks of proteins)

Alanine

Arginine

Aspartate

Clycine

Cystine

Glutamate

Histidine

Isoleucine

Leucine

Lycine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Proline

Serine

Taurine

Theronine

Tryptophan

Tyrosine

Valine

Carnitine (amino acid compound necessary to make use of fatty acids as an energy source)

Nucleotides (chemical compounds that are the structural units of RNA and DNA)

5’-Adenosine monophosphate (5”-AMP)

3’:5’-Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (3’:5’-cyclic AMP)

5’-Cytidine monophosphate (5’-CMP)

Cytidine diphosphate choline (CDP choline)

Guanosine diphosphate (UDP)

Guanosine diphosphate – mannose

3’- Uridine monophosphate (3’-UMP)

5’-Uridine monophosphate (5’-UMP)

Uridine diphosphate (UDP)

Uridine diphosphate hexose (UDPH)

Uridine diphosphate-N-acetyl-hexosamine (UDPAH)

Uridine diphosphoglucuronic acid (UDPGA)

Several more novel nucleotides of the UDP type

Fats

Triglycerides

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (important for brain development)

Arachidonic acid (AHA) (important for brain development)

Linoleic acid

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

Conjugated linoleic acid (Rumenic acid)

Free Fatty Acids

Monounsaturated fatty acids

Oleic acid

Palmitoleic acid

Heptadecenoic acid

Saturated fatty acids

Stearic

Palmitic acid

Lauric acid

Myristic acid

Phospholipids

Phosphatidylcholine

Phosphatidylethanolamine

Phosphatidylinositol

Lysophosphatidylcholine

Lysophosphatidylethanolamine

Plasmalogens

Sphingolipids

Sphingomyelin

Gangliosides

GM1

GM2

GM3

Glucosylceramide

Glycosphingolipids

Galactosylceramide

Lactosylceramide

Globotriaosylceramide (GB3)

Globoside (GB4)

Sterols

Squalene

Lanosterol

Dimethylsterol

Methosterol

Lathosterol

Desmosterol

Triacylglycerol

Cholesterol

7-dehydrocholesterol

Stigma-and campesterol

7-ketocholesterol

Sitosterol

β-lathosterol

Vitamin D metabolites

Steroid hormones

Vitamins

Vitamin A

Beta carotene

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B8 (Inositol)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

a-Tocopherol

Vitamin K

Thiamine

Riboflavin

Niacin

Folic acid

Pantothenic acid

Biotin

Minerals

Calcium

Sodium

Potassium

Iron

Zinc

Chloride

Phosphorus

Magnesium

Copper

Manganese

Iodine

Selenium

Choline

Sulpher

Chromium

Cobalt

Fluorine

Nickel

Metal

Molybdenum (essential element in many enzymes)

Growth Factors (aid in the maturation of the intestinal lining)

Cytokines

interleukin-1β (IL-1β)

IL-2

IL-4

IL-6

IL-8

IL-10

Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)

Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF)

Platelet derived growth factors (PDGF)

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)

Hepatocyte growth factor -α (HGF-α)

HGF-β

Tumor necrosis factor-α

Interferon-γ

Epithelial growth factor (EGF)

Transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α)

TGF β1

TGF-β2

Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) (also known as somatomedin C)

Insulin-like growth factor- II

Nerve growth factor (NGF)

Erythropoietin

Peptides (combinations of amino acids)

HMGF I (Human growth factor)

HMGF II

HMGF III

Cholecystokinin (CCK)

β-endorphins

Parathyroid hormone (PTH)

Parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP)

β-defensin-1

Calcitonin

Gastrin

Motilin

Bombesin (gastric releasing peptide, also known as neuromedin B)

Neurotensin

Somatostatin

Hormones (chemical messengers that carry signals from one cell, or group of cells, to another via the blood)

Cortisol

Triiodothyronine (T3)

Thyroxine (T4)

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (also known as thyrotropin)

Thyroid releasing hormone (TRH)

Prolactin

Oxytocin

Insulin

Corticosterone

Thrombopoietin

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)

GRH

Leptin (aids in regulation of food intake)

Ghrelin (aids in regulation of food intake)

Adiponectin

Feedback inhibitor of lactation (FIL)

Eicosanoids

Prostaglandins (enzymatically derived from fatty acids)

PG-E1

PG-E2

PG-F2

Leukotrienes

Thromboxanes

Prostacyclins

Enzymes (catalysts that support chemical reactions in the body)

Amylase

Arysulfatase

Catalase

Histaminase

Lipase

Lysozyme

PAF-acetylhydrolase

Phosphatase

Xanthine oxidase

Antiproteases (thought to bind themselves to macromolecules such as enzymes and as a result prevent allergic and anaphylactic reactions)

a-1-antitrypsin

a-1-antichymotrypsin

Antimicrobial factors (are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.

Leukocytes (white blood cells)

Phagocytes

Basophils

Neutrophils

Eoisinophils

Macrophages

Lymphocytes

B lymphocytes (also known as B cells)

T lymphocytes (also known as C cells)

sIgA (Secretory immunoglobulin A) (the most important antiinfective factor)

IgA2

IgG

IgD

IgM

IgE

Complement C1

Complement C2

Complement C3

Complement C4

Complement C5

Complement C6

Complement C7

Complement C8

Complement C9

Glycoproteins

Mucins (attaches to bacteria and viruses to prevent them from clinging to mucousal tissues)

Lactadherin

Alpha-lactoglobulin

Alpha-2 macroglobulin

Lewis antigens

Ribonuclease

Haemagglutinin inhibitors

Bifidus Factor (increases growth of Lactobacillus bifidus – which is a good bacteria)

Lactoferrin (binds to iron which prevents harmful bacteria from using the iron to grow)

Lactoperoxidase

B12 binding protein (deprives microorganisms of vitamin B12)

Fibronectin (makes phagocytes more aggressive, minimizes inflammation, and repairs damage caused by inflammation)

Oligosaccharides (more than 200 different kinds!)

Developed as a student project for the Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers, Douglas College, New Westminster, BC, Canada – © 2007 by Cecily Heslett, Sherri Hedberg and Haley Rumble

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