Research ArticleMICROBIOTA

Increasing breast milk betaine modulates Akkermansia abundance in mammalian neonates and improves long-term metabolic health

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Science Translational Medicine  31 Mar 2021:
Vol. 13, Issue 587, eabb0322
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb0322

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Supplementing mother’s milk

Metabolites from the one-carbon metabolism pool are critical nutrients during mammalian early growth and development. Ribo et al. now identify an inverse relationship between maternal breast milk betaine content and infant growth in two independent cohorts. Given that accelerated postnatal growth is a risk factor for future obesity, the authors tested whether maternal betaine supplementation during lactation in mice could affect the metabolic health of mouse offspring. Supplementation increased breast milk betaine content, induced a transient increase in offspring intestinal Akkermansia abundance, and reduced early weight gain. Furthermore, maternal betaine supplementation decreased adiposity and improved glucose metabolism throughout adulthood, demonstrating a link between breast milk betaine content and long-term metabolic health.

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