Associations between maternal body composition and appetite hormones and macronutrients in human milk

Sambavi Kugananthan, Zoya Gridneva, Ching T. Lai, Anna R. Hepworth, Peter J. Mark, Foteini Kakulas, Donna T. Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Human milk (HM) appetite hormones and macronutrients may mediate satiety in breastfed infants. This study investigated associations between maternal adiposity and concentrations of HM leptin, adiponectin, protein and lactose, and whether these concentrations and the relationship between body mass index and percentage fat mass (%FM) in a breastfeeding population change over the first year of lactation. Lactating women (n = 59) provided milk samples (n = 283) at the 2nd, 5th, 9th and/or 12th month of lactation. Concentrations of leptin, adiponectin, total protein and lactose were measured. Maternal %FM was measured using bioimpedance spectroscopy. Higher maternal %FM was associated with higher leptin concentrations in both whole (0.006 ± 0.002 ng/mL, p = 0.008) and skim HM (0.005 ± 0.002 ng/mL, p = 0.007), and protein (0.16 ± 0.07 g/L, p = 0.028) concentrations. Adiponectin and lactose concentrations were not associated with %FM (0.01 ± 0.06 ng/mL, p = 0.81; 0.08 ± 0.11 g/L, p = 0.48, respectively). Whole milk concentrations of adiponectin and leptin did not differ significantly over the first year of lactation. These findings suggest that the level of maternal adiposity during lactation may influence the early appetite programming of breastfed infants by modulating concentrations of HM components.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017


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