The original data on normal human milk obtained by Macy and associates1 include the first quantitative measurements of vitamin B, now known as thiamine, in human milk. There had been several earliers reports concerning the fact that the quality of milk produced by mothers whose babies had died of beriberi was inferior. In 1912 Andrews2 reported that 16 puppies fed milk from such mothers exhibited incoordination and weakness of extremities within three or four weeks, finally dying. He concluded:... in the Philippines the mortality is greatest among breast-fed children, possibly because of the poor quality of mother's milk. The latter is probably deleterious by reason of what it lacks rather than because of any harmful constituent. It seems probable that there is an intimate relation between beriberi of infants and a mother's milk poor in quality and lacking certain necessary elements which are not included in the mother's
RODERUCK CE, WILLIAMS HH, MACY IG. XXIII. FREE AND TOTAL THIAMINE CONTENTS OF COLOSTRUM AND MATURE HUMAN MILK. Am J Dis Child. 1945;70(3):162–170. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1945.02020210029005
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