Carotenoids in lactating moms
Carotenoids are important for visual and cognitive development in newborns. Measuring carotenoid levels in the macula of the eye is one way to gauge carotenoids in the diet. In this study, doctors measured carotenoid pigment levels in the macula of 80 mothers during the first three months postpartum, and obtained breastmilk samples to measure dietary nutrients.
Mothers with higher breastmilk levels of alpha-carotene, and two types of lutein, also had higher carotenoid levels in the macula, a measurement doctors refer to as macular pigment optical density (MPOD).
Doctors explained that alpha-carotene is not a macular pigment, but because it was linked to higher MPOD levels in this study, alpha-carotene may also signal healthy carotenoid levels in the diet.
Reference: Nutrients; 2022, Vol. 14, No. 1, nu14010182