Calcium, iron and essential fatty acid composition of bengali mother’s milk: a population based cross-sectional study


  • Susmita Roy
  • Amit Basu
  • Pubali Dhar
  • Mahua Ghosh


Background: Extensive literature is available that highlights only a healthy mother ensures the optimal growth of an infant. Human milk fatty acid is the only component which is influenced more by maternal diet. Beside the lipid fraction of maternal milk, micro and macro elements play major roles in execution of development of new-born. Aims and Objectives: For the first time, the present study entails to exhibit the relative concentration of essential nutrients of human milk of Bengali mothers with typical Bengali food habit with aims to observe (i) the level of Calcium (Ca), Iron (Fe) (ii) the composition of lipid in Bengali mothers’ milk and (iii) maternal dietary habit and its influence on these nutrients. Materials and Methods: 19 colostrum, 14 transitional milk and 16 matured milk samples were collected from Bengali mothers, belonging to higher income group (HIG) and medium income income group (MIG). Milk lipid was extracted, and then converted to fatty acid methyl ester to analyse by gas liquid chromatography. Phospholipid content was determined spectrophotometrically. Ca and Fe contents were determined by atomic absorption microscopy. Results: Ca content changed in an ascending order throughout the lactation period in both HIG and MIG mothers, so as the lipid content of HIG mothers. Daily intake of Ca is higher in HIG mothers than MIG, but not Fe. Ca content is linearly correlated with maternal age and BMI. Conclusion: Ca, Fe and fatty acid composition of mothers’ milk are influenced by maternal dietary intake. Linear correlation signifies that demand of calcium to neonate increases as maternal age progress. Eicosapentaenoic acid, arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are of great importance for neonatal growth which is solely dependent on maternal fish intake. Consumption of mustard oil results in a significant amount of nervonic acid which is an imperative component of nerve tissue.


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How to Cite

Roy S, Basu A, Dhar P, Ghosh M. Calcium, iron and essential fatty acid composition of bengali mother’s milk: a population based cross-sectional study. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2014 Dec. 31 [cited 2023 Sep. 25];26(Supp 2):310-7. Available from:



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