Researchers in Switzerland and Australia have identified proteins in human breastmilk — not present in cow’s milk — that may fight disease by helping remove bacteria, viruses and other dangerous pathogen’s from an infant’s gastrointestinal tract.
I didn’t think this was really news, as disease fighting antibodies has long been touted as a benefit of breastfeeding. However, this study has identified WHY this is the case. Human milk contains 2 sugar-based proteins that is lacking in cow’s milk. Previous studies have shown that these proteins can block certain receptors in the GI track that are main attachment sites for E. coli, Helicobacter pylory and other disease-causing microbes, which then prevents infection. Since cow’s milk lacks these proteins, it does not offer the same protection from disease.