Oestrogens and progesterone in human milk and their effects on infant health outcomes: A narrative review

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Abstract

Human milk (HM) is a complex biological system that contains a wide range of bioactive components including oestrogens and progesterone. Whilst maternal oestrogens and progesterone concentrations drop rapidly after birth, they remain detectable in HM across lactation. Phytoestrogens and mycoestrogens, which are produced by plants and fungi, are also present in HM and can interact with oestrogen receptors to interfere with normal hormone functions. Despite the potential impact of HM oestrogens and progesterone on the infant, limited research has addressed their impact on the growth and health of breastfed infants. Furthermore, it is important to comprehensively understand the factors that contribute to these hormone levels in HM, in order to establish effective intervention strategies. In this review, we have summarized the concentrations of naturally occurring oestrogens and progesterone in HM from both endogenous and exogenous sources and discussed both maternal factors impacting HM levels and relationships with infant growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136375
Pages (from-to)136375
JournalFood Chemistry
Volume424
Early online date16 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2023

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