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“Pregnancy and lactation can change the maternal nutrient reserve. We evaluated the association of macular pigment optical density (MPOD) with dietary and breastmilk carotenoids in postpartum women.

MPOD measurements and dietary intake of five carotenoids were obtained from 80 mothers in the first three months postpartum. Breastmilk samples from a subset of mothers were analyzed to determine their nutrient composition. The association between MPOD and dietary or breastmilk carotenoids was quantitatively assessed to better understand the availability and mobilization of carotenoids.

Our results showed that dietary α-carotene was positively correlated with MPOD. Of the breastmilk carotenoids, 13-cis-lutein and trans-lutein were correlated with MPOD when controlled for the total lutein in breastmilk. Other carotenoids in breastmilk were not associated with MPOD. Maternal MPOD is positively correlated with dietary intake of α-carotene in the early postpartum period, as well as with the breastmilk content of lutein."

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