Identification of a novel exercise-induced compound in breast milk that improves metabolic health of offspring.

A novel exercise-induced compound in breast milk that improves metabolic health of offspring.

The Need

Type 2 diabetes is a complex disease that arises from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Recent projections suggest that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes will increase to 25% of the U.S. population by 2050. While the incidence of the disease is rising, there is strong epidemiological evidence that regular physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have demonstrated the critical role on maternal exercise to improve metabolic health in adult offspring; however, the mechanisms responsible for the improved metabolic health are unknown.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University have analyzed breast milk samples to determine the mechanism for improved metabolic health in offspring. They found an increase in a component in the milk that is decreased in the presence of a high fat diet. The role of this compound in metabolic health was investigated in a mouse model. The compound identified is elevated with exercise, essential for improved metabolic health in adult offspring, and linked to metabolic gene expression.

Commercial Applications

  • Infant formula
  • Diabetes treatment
  • Metabolism
  • Nutritional supplements

Benefits/Advantages

  • The data suggests a previously unidentified role for a compound in breast milk in metabolism
  • The compound can be influenced naturally through exercise or via supplementation
  • Reduction in development of type 2 diabetes
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