Human Breast Milk (HBM) is a storehouse of micronutrients, macronutrients, immune factors, microbiota and numerous other bioactive macromolecules. Fulfilment of optimum nutritional requirements of more than 240 million malnourished infants worldwide is possible via adequate amount (570-900 mL/d) of breast milk administration to infants in first few years of life. Technological advancements enable study of multiple components of HBM like stem cells, bioactive proteins, micro RNAs, immunoglobulins and epithelial cells to understand their role in enhancement of nutritional value of HBM. Furthermore, immunological and protective functions of HBM against various illnesses like diabetes, anemia, respiratory and cardiovascular abnormalities, otitis media and gastrointestinal diseases prove superiority of HBM over artificial milk. Presence of major macronutrients like fatty acids, sphingomyelins, proteins, peptides, lactoferrin, lactalbumins, lysozymes, mucins, growth factors, oligosaccharides and cytokines increase nutritive value of HBM. In the future, HBM can serve as a carrier for delivery of drugs, vaccines and genes to infants and offer novel therapeutic applications to stimulate effective health, growth and development of infants. The review article highlights multimodal nutritional benefits of HBM, provides insight into preclinical and clinical studies of HBM-based therapeutics and encourages further research on HBM therapy to suffice nutritional needs of infants.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.