Educational Resources:
Nature's Best Food - Breast Milk

As a child grows older and turns one year old, milk becomes a supplement to a wholesome diet of solid foods. Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients, in the right proportions, to support not just growth, but also the development of a growing child's immune system, gastrointestinal tract and brain.

Interestingly, a mother's milk supply and the composition of breast milk changes constantly to meet the evolving needs of a growing child. What's more, it is easily digested and has a natural laxative effect, thus, breastfed babies rarely become constipated.

The unique structure of the fat molecules and the type of protein found in breast milk also confer beneficial effects.

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sn-2 Palmitate: A Unique Lipid Structure Found In Breast Milk

Palmitic acid in a triglyceride molecule

Palmitic acids in breast milk are heavily concentrated in the middle (sn-2 position) of the triglyceride.

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Absorption process in the intestines

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Palmitic acids positioned at sn-2 are less likely to bind with calcium to form insoluble calcium soap. This enables the body to better absorb key nutrients, like calcium and fats.

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Palmitic acids positioned at sn-1 and sn-3 position are more likely to bind with calcium, forming insoluble calcium soaps which are generally associated with hard stools.

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sn-2 Palmitate Helps to:

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Absorb key nutrients*1

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Improve bone strength2

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Improve crying and
sleping patterns2,5

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Support gastrointestinal
health and further
soften stools3,4


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A2 ß-casein

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Originally, cows produced milk that had A2 ß-casein.

However, over 5,000 years ago, a gene mutation occurred, resulting in cows that produce A1 ß-casein as well.

Recent research shows that only 30%^ of cows today are pure A2 cows, producing milk that contains only A2 ß-casein.

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Protein fragment

In breast milk, ß-casein is of the A2 type.
During digestion, both breast milk ß-casein and A2 ß-casein do not release a particular protein molecule, which may cause adverse effects like gastrointestinal discomfort and flatulence.6,7

^ Massella E, et al. Ital J Food Saf 2017; 6:6904

A2 ß-casein Helps to Support Gastrointestinal Well-Being

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Reduce flatulence6,7

reduce-gastrointestinal-discomfort

Reduce gastrointestinal discomfort6,7


Expert Interviews

Dr Nancy Tan, Paediatrician, Paediatric Gastroenterologist:
Goodness of Breast Milk: sn-2 and A2

Learn More About Goodness of Breast Milk

Dr Ang Ai Tin, Paediatrician, Neonatologist:
Understanding more about sn-2 palmitate and A2 ß-casein

  • Kennedy K, Fewtrell MS, Morley R, Abbott R, Quinlan PT, Wells JC, et al. Double-blind, randomized trial of a synthetic triacylglycerol in formula-fed term infants: effects on stoolbiochemistry, stool
  • Litmanovitz I, Davidson K, Eliakim A, Regev RH, Dolfin T, Arnon S, et al. High beta-palmitate formula and bone strength in term infants: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Calcif Tissue Int 2013;92:35-41.
  • Yao M, Lien EL, Capeding MR, Fitzgerald M, Ramanujam K, Yuhas R, et al. Effects of term infant formulas containing high sn-2 palmitate with and without oligofructose on stool composition, stool characteristics, and bifidogenicity. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2014;59:440-8
  • Yaron S, Shachar D, Abramas L, Riskin A, Bader D, Litmanovitz I, et al. Effect of high ß-palmitate content in infant formula on the intestinal microbiota of term infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2013;56:376-81
  • Fabiana Bar-Yoseph1*, Yael Lifshitz1 , Tzafra Cohen1 , Patrice Malard2 , et al. SN2-Palmitate Improves Crying and Sleep in Infants Fed Formula with Prebiotics: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial Clinics Mother Child Health 2017, 14:2
  • Sun Jianqin, Xu Leiming, Xia Lu, et al. Effects of milk containing only A2 beta casein versus milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein proteins on gastrointestinal physiology, symptoms of discomfort, and cognitive behavior of people with self-reported intolerance to traditional cows' milk. Nutrition Journal (2016) 15:35.
  • Mei He, Jianqin Sun, Zhuo Qin Jiang, Yue Xin Yang. Effects of cows' milk beta-casein variants on symptoms of milk intolerance in Chinese adults: a multicenter, randomized controlled study. Nutrition Journal (2017) 16:72.