Comprehensive Analysis of Lipid Composition in Human Foremilk and Hindmilk

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Precision nutrition, also referred to as personalized nutrition, focuses on the individual to determine the individual’s most effective eating plan to prevent or treat disease. A precision nutrition for infants requires the determination of the profile of human milk. We compared the lipid profiles of the foremilk (i.e., the initial milk of a breastfeed) and hindmilk (the last milk) of six Japanese subjects and evaluated whether a human milk lipid profile is useful for precision nutrition even though the fat concentration fluctuates during lactation. We detected and quantified 527 species with a lipidome analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The fat concentration in hindmilk (120.6 ± 66.7 μmol/mL) was significantly higher than that in foremilk (68.6 ± 33.3 μmol/mL). While the total carbon number of fatty acids in triglyceride (TG) was highest in C52 for all subjects, the second or third number differed among the subjects. Both the distribution of total carbon number of fatty acids included in TG and the distribution of fatty acids in TG classified by the number of double bonds were almost the same in the foremilk and hindmilk in each subject. The lipids levels containing docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in total lipids of the foremilk and the hindmilk were almost the same in each subject. Among the sphingolipids and glycerophospholipids, the level of sphingomyelin was the highest in four subjects’ milk, and phosphatidylcholine was the highest in the other two subjects’ milk. The order of their major species was the same in each foremilk and hindmilk. A clustering heatmap revealed the differences between foremilk and hindmilk in the same subject were smaller than the differences among individuals. Our analyses indicate that a human-milk lipid profile reflects individual characteristics and is a worthwhile focus for precision nutrition.




Takumi, H., Kato, K., Nakanishi, H., Tamura, M., Ohto-N, T., Nagao, S., & Hirose, J. (2022). Comprehensive Analysis of Lipid Composition in Human Foremilk and Hindmilk. Journal of Oleo Science, 71(7), 947–957.

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