Dr. EA Quinn and I had a wide ranging discussion on breastmilk from an evolutionary perspective for podcast episode #11.
Dr. Quinn is a biological anthropologist with a specialty in human biology. Her research is broadly focused on understanding the ways in which human milk is an essential part of human biological variation and how such variation has been selected for by different ecological pressures.
Her primary research project at present is Infancy @Altitude, a longitudinal birth cohort study of ethnic Tibetan mothers and infants living in the Nubri Valley, Nepal. She is investigating the ways in which ecological pressures – in this case the ecological pressures of hypoxia, chronic cold stress, shorter growing seasons, UV radiation, and infectious diseases – create selective pressures on human milk and how this translates into adaptive patterns of child growth.
One of the major findings of this research was elevated milk fat in the high altitude sample compared to other previously studied human populations and lower levels of metabolic hormones than predicted based on maternal body composition.
Breastmilk is a magical human derived food and medicine all wrapped up into one. The magnificence of human milk is on full display during this hour long podcast.
I hope that you enjoy my conversation with Dr. EA Quinn,