Copper, selenium, and zinc concentrations in human milk during the first three weeks of lactation.

Original article


Hannan MA, Dogadkin NN, Ashur IA, Markus WM.

Department of Physics and Geology, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78541-2999, USA.

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Oct;107(1):11-20.


Human milk samples were analyzed by neutron activation analysis (NAA) for three essential trace elements (Cu, Se, and Zn). Mothers’ milk samples were collected from 25 lactating mothers from the Central Hospital, Tripoli, Libya. The average concentration level of Cu, Se, and Zn declined from 0.84 +/- 0.06 mg/L, 104 +/- 9.46 microg/L, and 16.1 +/- 2.67 mg/L at d 0 to 0.39 +/- 0.045 mg/L, 41.8 +/- 6.66 microg/L, and 4.95 +/- 1.3 mg/L, respectively, at d 20 of lactation. Copper and Zn levels in the Libyan mothers’ milk were in agreement with reported levels from other countries, whereas Se was at a higher level. The Cu daily intake level is slightly higher than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) value. Selenium and Zn have higher intake levels than the RDA values but within the tolerable upper intake levels.

Keywords: Copper; selenium; zinc; human milk; neutron activation analysis; human health; trace elements