Lactation Lab provides families with the tools they need to monitor and improve the long-term health of their children. With our simple and easy-to-use tests, mothers can learn for the first time about the nutrient make-up of their breast milk, improve their diet and nutrition, and safeguard against exposure to heavy metals and other toxins that are harmful to a child’s growth and development.
WHAT WE TEST AND WHY
Lactation Lab only tests for nutrients whose concentrations have been shown to be affected by maternal diet.
The amount of fat in milk is related to infant growth. It is essential for the metabolism of vitamins needed for neurodevelopment and is the main source of calories. Increasing dietary fat consumption, especially omega fatty acids, can increase the fat content in breast milk.
This is a measure of the energy content of the milk. The major contributors are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It is estimated that a breastfeeding woman should be consuming a minimum of an extra 500 calories per day.
It is estimated that protein supplies 8-10% of a baby’s energy requirements. Proteins are important for immune and neurological function, and are the building blocks for tissues, muscle and bones. Low levels should prompt you to discuss your dietary intake with your doctor.
Breast milk contains unique sugars which help fuel growth and brain development. Lactose is the main sugar in breast milk and it helps decrease the amount of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach. It also helps with the absorption of key nutrients and minerals.
This mineral is important for skeletal structure, essential for cell, muscle and nerve function and for blood clotting. Supplementation can increase calcium levels in milk. Low levels should prompt a discussion with your doctor.
Essential for blood cell production and carries oxygen from lungs to tissues. Low levels have been associated with anemia in mothers.
Belongs to a family of compounds called retinoids which are important for vision, bone growth and supporting a healthy immune system. If your levels are low, you should discuss your results with your healthcare provider and assess your intake (diet and supplements).
An antioxidant and important building block for collagen and connective tissue as well as iron absorption. Low levels should prompt you to discuss with your healthcare provider.
Maintains healthy nerve cells and helps in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material. It is important for overall metabolism, formation of red blood cells and for maintenance of the central nervous system.
Linoleic Acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. It is an essential fatty acid, which means our bodies do not produce and it must therefore be acquired through diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are important for brain and nervous system development.
Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. It too is an essential fatty acid which must be ingested because our bodies cannot synthesize it. It promotes brain, muscle and nervous system development.
Alpha-Linolenic Acid is an omega-3 fatty acid found in seeds. It is an essential fatty acid which our bodies do not synthesize and must be consumed. ALA promotes infant growth and retinal function. It plays an important role in supporting healthy immune and cardiovascular systems.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. There is strong evidence based on animal and human studies that DHA is critical for infant growth, especially brain, skin and retinal development. It also plays an important role in supporting a healthy immune system.
Arsenic is one of the World Health Organization’s top 10 chemicals of major public concern. It is naturally present in small amounts in the ground and can be found in higher concentrations in contaminated water. Fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, dairy products and cereals are also known sources of arsenic exposure, although in lower amounts.
Long-term exposure to arsenic has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and can cause neurotoxicity. It can be introduced into our food supply when crops are grown in polluted soil or contaminated water is used to irrigate.
Cadmium exposure has been linked to kidney, lung and bone diseases in infants. Fertilizers and cigarette smoke are major sources of exposure, as are the consumption of shellfish. Contamination of drinking water may occur as a result of the presence of cadmium as an impurity in old pipes, water heaters, water coolers and faucets. It can also be present in crops due to soil and irrigation contamination. Meats from animals that graze on contaminated pastures can also cause increased exposure.
The World Health Organization has labeled lead as another top 10 chemical of major concern. There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe. Sources of exposure include ingestion of contaminated water, inhalation of aviation fuel exhaust and lead based paint.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to effects of lead, due in part to their lower body weight, but they have also been found to absorb 4-5 times the amount adults do from a given source.
At any level, lead adversely affects the brain and nervous system. High levels of lead exposure are associated with central nervous system disorders, coma, convulsions and death. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.
Mercury also makes the World Health Organization's top ten list of chemicals of major concern. Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Mercury occurs naturally in the earth's crust and it is thought that all animals (humans included) are exposed to mercury to some degree. The main source of exposure is through consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish (cooking does not eliminate mercury). People can also be exposed as a result of industrial processes such as mining and burning coal.
Exposure to even small amounts of mercury causes serious health problems and is a threat to the development of infants. It has toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems as well as on the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. It is linked to neurological and behavioral disorders including tremors, cognitive impairment and central nervous system damage.