One study found that the taste and smell of the active substances in garlic or coffee partly enters breast milk as a fragrant metabolic product, while the flavors of fish oil or tea breastfeeding were little or not significant.
The research has been published in the ‘Molecular Nutrition & Food Research Journal’. The extent to which the pungent substances of chili, ginger or pepper are found in breast milk has been even less studied than the aromatic and taste substances. For this reason, a scientific team led by TUM has now investigated whether these substances are transferred from food to breast milk and, if so, which ones.
Thanks to extensive mass spectrometry analyzes, the team showed that already an hour after consuming a standardized curry dish, piperine is detectable in breast milk for several hours.
“The maximum observed concentrations of 14 to 57 micrograms per liter were approximately 70 to 350 times lower than the threshold of taste perception of an adult,” said Professor Corinna Dawid, who heads the Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science at the TUM police station for Professor Thomas Hofmann.
Roman Lang, who first participated in the study as a scientist at TUM and later at the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology (LSB), added: “It seems rather unlikely that infants will perceive consciously sharpness. Nonetheless, it is conceivable that regular low-threshold activation of the TRPV1 “stinging receptor” could help increase tolerance to these substances later on. “
The pungency of ginger or chili as well as the secondary plant compound of curcumin, which is also abundant in curry, did not enter the milk, according to research.
“We were particularly surprised by the latter since piperine is believed to significantly increase the bioavailability of curcumin according to the results of other studies,” reported Roman Lang, who heads the Biosystems Chemistry & Human Metabolism research group at LSB.
“These observations were made in collaboration with our partners from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Fraunhofer Institute for Process and Packaging Engineering IVV and LSB. Further exploration will help us better understand both the emergence of food preferences and the metabolic processes that play a role in the transfer of bioactive food ingredients into breast milk, ”said Corinna Dawid, professor at TUM.