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Vasques da Costa A, Purcell Goes C, Gama P. Breastfeeding importance and its therapeutic potential against SARS-CoV-2. Physiol Rep. 2021 Feb;9(3):e14744. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14744. PMID: 33580917.

During postnatal development, colostrum and breastmilk are sequentially the first sources of nutrition with protein components and bioactive molecules that confer protection and immunostimulatory function to the gut. Caseins, whey proteins, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), mucins, tryptophan, and growth factors are among milk-borne elements that are directly important in the control of mucosa development and protection. Consequently, breastfeeding is associated with the low incidence of gastrointestinal inflammation and with the decrease in respiratory diseases during postnatal period. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) binds to angiotensin II-converting enzyme (ACE2) on the cell membrane, allowing virus entrance, replication, and host commitment. ACE2 is expressed by different cell types, which include ciliated cells in the lungs and enterocytes in the intestine. Such cells are highly active in metabolism, as they internalize molecules to be processed and used by the organism. The disruption of ACE2 impairs leads to intestinal inflammation and decreased synthesis of serotonin, affecting motility. By reviewing the effects of SARS-CoV-2 in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts in infants, and gut responses to breastfeeding interruption, we suggest that it is important to maintain breastfeeding during SARS-CoV-2 infection, as it might be essential to protect newborns from gastrointestinal-associated disorders and relieve disease symptoms.

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