Narrator: This is Science Today. Breastfeeding is considered to be the best source of nutrition for newborns because many of the components of breast milk have been found to protect babies against infection and disease. Chemist Bruce German, director of the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, is part of a collaborative effort to discover breast milk's secrets for health.
German: We're disassembling milk to understand exactly how do you nourish people for prevention, protection, development, maturation ... and milk is telling us wonderful secrets.
Narrator: This includes a compound known as human milk oligosaccharides, which plays a key role in protecting infants from infection by developing good bacteria in the gut. By deconstructing milk, German and his colleagues hope to apply its protective qualities to adults — from the prevention of diabetes and heart disease, even to cure diseases like cancer. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.