For neurological disorders, milk-based therapies are on the way

From peptides to sugars to lipids, researchers investigate milk as an untapped source of therapeutics for conditions as diverse as anxiety and infant brain injury.

Nov 10, 2022|8 min read

Stephanie DeMarco, PhD – Drug Discovery News

A mammal’s first source of nutrients comes from milk. Filled with proteins, sugars, lipids, antibodies, cells, hormones and prebiotics, milk provides the necessary nourishment to help babies develop into healthy adults (1). But scientists have discovered that milk components are not just important for child development; they can have therapeutic effects too.

Low weight babies fed breast milk have a reduced risk of death and of acquiring a dangerous gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (2). Breast feeding associates with a decreased risk of diarrheal disease and infection in infants as well as improved brain connectivity in preterm infants (3-4). While the beneficial effects of breast milk for infants is clear, many scientists wondered if some components of human milk might also benefit adults.