Breast milk is the white liquid produced by women to breast-feed their babies. It has many benefits for infants, including reduced risk of gastroenteritis and respiratory infection. This study investigated the amino acids and carbohydrates composition in breast milk of lactating mothers. Eighteen (18) lactating mothers between the ages of 16-45 years participated in this study. Amino acid content was analysed with amino acid analyser, while the carbohydrate content was analysed with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and generated data was analysed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The result showed that values of ribose, arabinose, fructose, sorbitol and mannitol were statistically (p<0.05) different in younger mothers when compared with middle and older mothers. Values for HMF, glucose and maltose were statistically different than that of other age groups. Also, sucrose level for older mothers was 2.65 ppm, which was statistically different when compared with the values for other age groups. The amino acid composition showed that younger mothers had the highest concentration of aspartate (2.43 mg/100 g) though not statistically significant with the values of other age groups. Proline value (4.20 mg/100 g) was statistically different in middle aged mothers when compared with other age groups. Values of valine, alanine, arginine and serine were statistically higher when comparing older mothers to other age groups. The varying concentrations of both amino acid and carbohydrate composition in these mothers might be due to the nutritional status of the lactating mothers.
Key words: Breast milk, amino acid, carbohydrate, lactating mothers.
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