Mom’s Milk Sends Signals to Babies

Mom's Milk Sends Signals to Babies
  • Milk is not just food. The more closely scientists examine it, the more complexity they find.
  • Along with nutrients like protein and calcium, milk contains immune factors that protect infants from disease.
  • It hosts a menagerie of microbes, too, some of which may colonize the guts of babies and help them digest food.
  • Milk even contains a special sugar that can fertilize that microbial garden. Now, it turns out, milk also contains messages.
  • A study of monkeys, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology , demonstrates a hormone present in milk, cortisol, can have profound effects on how babies develop.
  • Infant monkeys rely on cortisol to detect the condition of their mothers, the authors suggest, then adjust their growth and even shift their temperaments.
  • Milk serves almost like a pheromone, a chemical signal sent from one individual to another.
  • The researchers collected samples of milk, measuring how much energy each provided and the cortisol it contained.
  • Cortisol serves many functions in mammals, but it is best known as a stress hormone.
  • When cortisol courses through our bodies, it prepares us to handle alarming or fearful situations, increasing the brain's consumption of glucose and suppressing the digestive system.
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    • Digi

      Thanks Zuali.