Influence of Breastfeeding on Immune Trajectory and Long-Term Health (videos)

Influence of Breastfeeding on Immune Trajectory and Long-Term Health

Valerie Verhasselt


The neonatal immune system has its own reactivity, which profoundly differs from the adult. It is not a “small adult” nor an immature immune system nor a tolerant prone immune system. Neonatal immune system has its specific requirements for activation and regulation.

Breastmilk is most probably a key requirement for physiological, and optimal, function and imprinting of immune system in early life. Alike the immune system and environment that are constantly changing in early life, breastmilk composition is constantly evolving. Volume, macronutrients, micronutrients, immunological factors, microbiota and microbiota shaping molecules are changing with lactation stages, which follow infant growth, and with environmental immune challenges.

Here, we will focus on some factors in breastmilk that we extensively studied and found to actively influence immune trajectory and long term immune health. More specifically, we will review the importance of breastmilk TGF-beta, Vitamin A, Immunoglobulins and allergens in mucosal immunity in early life and long term allergic disease susceptibility.

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