1Dipartimento di Pediatria, 2Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Napoli Federico II
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Key words: Milk, Energy balance, Inflammation, Redox state, Gut microbiota
Relevance of early nutrition in promoting body growth and health is well established. Human milk is the natural food of all human infants; it provides an adequate supply of all nutrients necessary to support growth and development and even plays a key role in preventing overweight and obesity throughout life in addition to providing immunoregulatory components. Unfortunately, a very large population of infants is deprived of their natural food: the rate of cow milk consumption in the early months of life is very high in Western countries, which has been suggested as a factor that contributes to the increasing burden of obesity and related disorders. Consistently during recent years, milks from monogastric animals, rather than from ruminant species, have been indicated to be more suitable for human nutrition based on their physicochemical properties. Among these, donkey milk has been suggested as the best potential substitute for HM due to its composition. The paper reports the comparison in an animal model of the metabolic effects of the supplementation with different milks (human, cow’s or donkey’s milk) and the conclusion that energy balance, inflammatory state, antioxidant/detoxifying enzyme activities, mitochondrial efficiency and gut microbiota are differently affected by the intake of monogastric or ruminant milk.
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