Human milk confers unique nutritional and non-nutritional benefits, enhancing a child’s growth and development, as well as overall health, not only in early life but also for the long-term and offering prevention against some diseases. An epigenetic mechanism is a biochemical alteration to the DNA that does not change the sequence but does influence gene expression. These epigenetic alterations are extraordinarily affected by nature and are heritable. The major epigenetic forms are DNA methylation, histone change, and chromatin remodelling.
Four main diseases and disorders that breast milk may epigenetically protect against:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: This may be clarified by the gut microbiota which can be modified by numerous components in early age. At the point when babies are breastfed, human bosom drain parts advance more advantageous gut microorganisms, which control the statement of qualities engaged with assimilation, obstruction capacity, and generation of secretory IgA (sIgA). sIgA is the most copious class of counteracting agent in our living being and assumes a vital job in the resistant capacity of mucous layers and security against pathogenic living beings.
- Disorders of the Immune System: Breast feeding has been appeared to help anticipate diseases and other resistant related sicknesses, especially gastrointestinal contaminations and intense otitis media, regardless of whether the kid has hereditary diseases. Human milk contains oligosaccharides which advance more beneficial gut microorganisms which assume a main role in epigenetically programming the new-born child’s safe phenotype and contamination defencelessness.
- Obesity and Related Disorders: obesity is a multifactorial disease – it’s the result of the interaction between genetics, environment and individual lifestyles, including feeding practices during the early ages of life. Babies fed with artificial formula can develop intestinal dysbiosis which leads to an unhealthy epigenetic expression. It is well known that gut microbiota has an important role in human metabolism – an unbalanced microbiota would be a risk factor for a child developing obesity.
- Cancer: Benefits of breastfeeding are not only limited to the breastfed child. Mothers can have a deep and relevant impact on their own health just by nursing their babies. Scientists have proposed several mechanisms that might explain this positive effect of nursing in breast-cancer risk reduction, such as hormonal changes breast cancer prevention via epigenetic mechanisms, which specific components of human milk are involved.