Study: Human Breast Milk Contains Anti-Microbial Properties Cow's Milk Doesn't Provide

Study: Human Breast Milk Contains Anti-Microbial Properties Cow's Milk Doesn't Provide

GML, a special compound in human breastmilk, fights harmful bacteria while promoting beneficial bacteria. It may be added to cow's milk and formula.

Research from the National Jewish Health Center, Denver, and the University of Iowa revealed an anti-bacterial compound, glycerol monolaurate (GML) in human breastmilk. This compound promotes healthy bacteria to grow while fighting against harmful bacteria.

Special compound in human breastmilk discovered to boost immunity in babies

Special compound in human breastmilk

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Researchers discovered human breastmilk contains GML levels 200 times more than found in cow’s milk. In formula milk, GML is not present at all.

GML provided human breast milk anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.

After investigating and comparing human breast milk to cow’s milk and formula, GML was discovered to effectively prevent the growth of the S. aureus bacteria.

However, the researchers admitted not being able to find out why GML was so high in human breast milk compared to cow’s milk.

“Although we do not know why human milk contains so much GML, compared to bovine milk, this observation is supported by based differences in gastrointestinal tracts of humans and cows.”

While they were unable to ascertain this information, the researchers discovered that stopping this bacterium meant human breast milk reduces allergies such as asthma, food allergy, and eczema (atopic dermatitis).

“Positive effects of human milk appear to be due in part to the presence of GML combined with other known and unknown factors”

After experimenting with GML levels, they found that cow’s milk contains anti-microbial properties with 3,000mg of GML. 

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Dr Patrick Schlievert, and Dr Donald Leung, Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health, submitted a patent application to use GML as a supplementary additive in cow’s milk and formula milk.

3 tips to keep breast milk flowing so you can breastfeed for longer

special compound in human breastmilk

Image source: iStock

The study adds to an evergrowing body of evidence that breast milk is amazing! 

It’s recently been found to kills cancer cells, helps your baby tell the difference between night and day, and strengthens the bond between mother and baby.

As great as breastfeeding is, many mums aren’t sure when is the right time to stop breastfeeding. Some people stop because it becomes too painful to continue, or their schedules don’t allow for it.

There are different ways you can try to keep your breast milk supply flowing, even in the midst of your busyness of being a supermum, working, and a loving wife!

Stay strong and persevere, as other mums who never gave up can attest to! Try these tips to keep breastfeeding for longer.

1. Eat the right foods to boost your breast milk production!

special compound in human breastmilk

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Certain foods can increase your breast milk supply like dates, green papayas, avocadoes, bananas, and blueberries to name a few.

Furthermore, they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals! Some of these foods contain antioxidants which boost immunity and omega-3 fatty acids that lower the likelihood of developing allergies.

Not to mention they can help your baby grow up to be smart!

Remember to maintain a balanced diet and include more of these foods to help you stay on the breastfeeding journey.

2. Express if you can’t breastfeed directly

special compound in human breastmilk

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Going back to work can be stressful. Readjusting back into the schedule is stressful. But some mothers stop breastfeeding as they’re not with their babies anymore.

Keep the flow going through expressing. Use a pump to extract the milk and store it safely in milk bags or containers. Keep them in the fridge at work so they’re fresh for your little one.

If you’re blessed with an oversupply of milk, consider freezing the packs for future use!

3. Get your partner involved

special compound in human breastmilk

Image source: iStock

Breastfeeding is more effective when both parents are involved.

Even if your husband can’t directly offer his nipples for milk, he can do a lot that makes it a lot easier! As partners for life, there are a lot of things he can do to help you stay the course.

For example, your hubby can research on how to feed the baby. If you express milk, he can apply that knowledge directly!

He can also help clean the bottle pumps so they’re ready for use.

And at night time, when everyone is sleep-deprived, schedule who feeds the baby during the night. Taking turns gives you both a chance to catch up on sleep.


This new study gives insight into why breast milk is superior to cow’s milk or formula. Thanks to the GML special compound in human breastmilk, your baby will grow up to be healthy, strong, and fighting fit.

Keep up with your breastfeeding, mummies – your little ones will greatly benefit from it!

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Written by

Vinnie Wong

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