Lactation from the inside out: Maternal homeorhetic gastrointestinal adaptations regulating energy and nutrient flow into milk production

Taylor, Vicky J. (2023). Lactation from the inside out: Maternal homeorhetic gastrointestinal adaptations regulating energy and nutrient flow into milk production. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 559, article no. 111797.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2022.111797

Abstract

Lactation invokes homeorhetic processes to ramp up and supply milk synthesis components to fulfil nutritional, immunological and microbiological requirements of developing offspring, overseen by complex neuroendocrine networks. The maternal gut meets these intense metabolic demands, supported by hyperphagia and rapid adjustments to process larger food quantities. Enteroplasticity describes an inherent ability of the gastrointestinal tract to harness metabolic and structural adaptations that increase nutrient absorption. Most shifts in response to increased demands are transitory and by secreting milk, the continuous energetic drain out of the maternal body avoids development of pathological metabolic diseases. Lactation has various positive benefits for long-term maternal health but many females do not lactate for long post pregnancy and younger women are increasingly pre-disposed to excessive body mass and/or metabolic complications prior to reproducing. Inadvertently invoking intestinal adaptations to harvest and store excess nutrients has negative health implications with increased risks for both mother and offspring.

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