Breastmilk provides nutritional, immunological, psychological, and developmental benefits for infants. Zinc and copper are essential elements, being involved in many biological processes. Their insufficient intake by infants can detrimentally affect function of body. In comparison, lead and cadmium are harmful trace elements which accumulate in women before pregnancy, transfer to fetus through placenta in pregnancy and then to infant through breastmilk in lactating period. The aims of this study was to investigate effect of zinc, copper, lead, and cadmium in breastmilk on infants’ growth and their correlations with the mothers’ dietary intake.
Breastmilk samples and food intake information were collected from 160 lactating women in Tehran. Concentration of copper, zinc, lead and cadmium were determined by anodic stripping voltammetry conducted by microwave digestion.
According to the results, concentration of copper, zinc, lead and cadmium were 0.36 ±0.33 mg/l, 2.40 ±2.02 mg/l, 7.15 ±5.96 μg/l, and 1.07 ±1.14 μg/l, respectively. Concentration of zinc and copper in breastmilk were increased by consumption of dairy, vegetables, fruits, bread, and nuts. Infants’ height, weight and head circumstance at birthday were directly correlated with zinc concentration while reversed correlation was observed for copper, lead and cadmium in the samples. In conclusion, controlled dietary intake of women before pregnancy and after childbirth has significant impact on healthy status of the infants. Obviously, more attention should be paid on potential sources of lead intake in women of Tehran because of its high concentration in the samples.
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