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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Research Project #439383

Research Project: The Mothers, Infants and Lactation Quality (MILQ) Study Supplement: MILQ2

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Project Number: 2032-51530-025-054-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2020
End Date: Jun 15, 2024

The ongoing MILQ study has successfully collected colostrum (at 2-3 days postpartum) and then breast milk from 1 month through 8.5 months postpartum, a collaborative project in 4 countries. We have been funded in the supplemental grant MILQ 2 from the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation to analyze the milk samples for vitamin D concentrations. The Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory in Cambridge, UK has developed a LC-MS method to accurately measure vitamin D in human milk. This collaboration will allow the MILQ samples (2,500) to be analyzed rapidly for vitamin D in Cambridge. Not only does the Cambridge team already have the analytical method for vitamin D in human milk validated (perhaps only 2-3 places in the world that does), but they are willing to analyze the samples as soon as we can send them. This collaboration will allow more available time on the LC-MS in the Allen lab to analyze the MILQ samples for other micronutrients and create the Reference Values (RV) for the MILQ study. This is especially important due to the many months of delay we have had due to COVID shut-downs. Our funders have requested several times that we produce the vitamin D values by the end of this year and our lab does not now have the time to do that. Our funders strongly approve of these analyses being conducted in Cambridge.

Human milk samples have been collected from well-nourished mothers, age 18 to 40 y, in a systematic, identical way in four countries. The 4 sites are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Bakau, The Gambia. Criteria for selection of these field sites are: mothers are healthy and well nourished but not consuming mineral-vitamin supplements during the third trimester of pregnancy or during lactation, or consuming substantial amounts of food highly fortified with micronutrients. The WHNRC is responsible for this study and samples from our 1000 participants, each sampled 4 times, are shipped to the Allen lab for analysis including vitamins and minerals in plasma and milk. The goal is to create a reference value (RV’s) curve for each of the nutrients in healthy human milk, across 9 months of lactation. Some 30,000 total analyses will be conducted. The milk vitamin D data will be sent to the WHNRC who will construct the Reference Values. It is expected that the Cambridge cooperators will participate in publication of the data.