Chrononutrition and Breast Milk: A Review of Circadian Variation in Breast Milk Nutrient Composition

Gugulethu Moyo, Shera Jackson, Allison Childress, John Dawson, Leslie Thompson, Wilna Oldewage-Theron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this literature review was to identify and summarize the current knowledge on the circadian variation of breast milk nutrients and the implications of these findings. Method: A review of literature was conducted, including all relevant studies regardless of location and year of publication. Results: The amino acids tyrosine, histidine, aspartic acid and phenylalanine and energy were observed to be higher during the day. Fat and the vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, and B-12 were higher at night. Other studies have shown conflicting results or no circadian variation for certain nutrients. Poor reproducibility and small sample sizes affect the quality of existing research. Conclusion: More research is needed, and longitudinal studies would help assess the effect of breast milk chrononutrition on the long-term health outcomes of infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Lactation
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • circadian rhythm
  • diurnal variation
  • lactation
  • macronutrient
  • micronutrient


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