To a new mother, her baby’s cry is a consequence of hunger, pain, or some uneasiness. It could unnerve her but she would soon realize that infants are supposed to cry as they have no other way to communicate.
However, what if we say that your baby’s tears have a lot to reveal? The surprising thing is that your baby’s tears can help assess the vitamin deficiency in babies. The researchers at the Chemical Advanced Resolution Methods (ChARM) Laboratory in the Michigan Technological University have undertaken the experiment to analyze the tears of babies, and the results simply amaze us.
Maryam Khaksari, a research specialist ChARM Laboratory at Michigan Tech and the lead author of the paper Experimental Eye Research , says: “Our goal was to seek the viability of establishing measurable units of tears for nutritional assessments. Your body cannot manufacture vitamins, and vitamins reflect available food sources in your body. That’s what makes them good indicators of nutritional health.”
Vitamins and mineral supplements are not required for full-term breastfed baby in the first year if the baby has an average weight. This is because breast milk is an excellent source of some fat soluble vitamins such as A, D,E and K, which are vital for the baby’s health.
In some cases, even if the baby is nutrient fortified, he could still be at the risk of certain deficiencies. And these vitamin deficiencies in infants generally lead to growth and development issues.
The researchers at Michigan Tech analyzed the blood and tears of 15 family pairs – four-month-old infants and their parent. They discovered that the level of vitamin B and E in their tears indicated the vitamin levels in the blood, as the babies tend to shed water soluble B vitamins in their tears and fat soluble vitamin E. However, vitamin B concentrates were more than vitamin E in the tears. Fat-soluble vitamin A was found only in blood serum.
The concentration of vitamins was correlated with blood and tear levels, between parents and infants against the reported dietary intakes. It was found that babies had higher levels of water soluble nutrients than parents. Whereas serum vitamin A concentration was higher in parents, there was no significant difference in the levels of vitamin E in parents and infants.
Notably, mothers were more deficient than the babies.
The paper says: “Our results suggest that tears are a viable biofluid to monitor nutritional health because they sufficiently mirror blood serum data and may enhance the speed of deficiency diagnoses.”
These findings could, hopefully, lead to an advanced but inexpensive, ‘tear-based microfluidic devices or strips’ to diagnose the deficiencies in babies. It means you need not have to panic the infant by piercing him with a needle for a blood test.
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