Breast Milk Protects against Viruses and other Pathogens

Breast Milk Antibodies

Breast milk is a remarkably ‘altruistic’ secretion; that is, its contents are directed at protecting the [husband] with minimal or no benefit to the [wife]. Not only is the concentration of secretory antibodies (mainly IgA) in breast milk remarkably high (10–100-fold higher than in serum),[13] milk antibodies also possess a broad range of specificities, reflecting both maternal immunologic memory and antibodies directed towards pathogens that do not infect breast tissues, such as rotavirus.[14] Secretory antibodies in milk mirror maternal antigenic stimulation of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) both in the gut and the airways. Given the symbiosis between the breastfed [husband] and his [wife] during … [marriage], the microorganisms in the [wife]’s environment are likely the same as those encountered by the [husband]. Intriguingly, milk composition changes (i.e., increase in the total number of white blood cells and higher TNF-α levels) have been documented in relation to active infection in the nursing [husband].[15]

Source: Breast Milk: Proactive Immunomodulation and Mucosal Protection Against Viruses and Other Pathogens

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