Breast milk is one of the healthiest and nutrient-rich food sources naturally available. It is so important that the World Health Organisation (WHO) set aside a whole week this year to focus on supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet.
Breast milk provides children with the best possible start in life, WHO asserts, and provides nutritional and emotional benefits to both babies and nursing mothers.
But a new fad has arisen in which grown men are now depending on breast milk to build muscles and get in shape.
Netflix’s new docuseries, (Un)Well, reveals the new fad in which bodybuilders, instead of relying on water or supplements in protein shakes, are now banking on breast milk to build muscle.
The series delves into the muddled ethics of buying human milk and using it for personal interests rather than for feeding babies.
“Breast milk did well for me in the past. Why couldn’t it do the same again?” asks a bodybuilder in the docuseries.
A sports dietician who spoke with Men’sHealth magazine, Brian St. Pierre, said that the idea behind drinking breast milk for muscle growth is that it’s incredibly calorie and nutrient-dense and has other additional healthy substances.
“Breast milk is designed to rapidly grow a human baby, so maybe people think a similar effect will happen to fully grown humans?” said St Pierre, who works with Precision Nutrition.
But what’s in breast milk?
Human milk contains nutritional composition and non-nutritive bioactive factors that promote survival and healthy development.
The bioactive factors include cells, anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory agents, growth factors and prebiotics.
The nutritional components include protein, fat, lactose and calories for energy but the macronutrients differ in levels between preterm and term milk.
However, dieticians are not sure whether the growth hormones in breast milk actually benefit a human adult in any way.
Scientists and trainers agree that muscle growth is driven by eating more nutritious calories than one burn and enough proteins. So, maybe, breast milk with its dense concentration of the liquid gold can lead to muscle gain.