ABSTRACT. An hypothesis was developed which predicts that human milk protects against infections of the alimentary tract of the breast-fed infant by non-inflammatory mechanisms. Human milk is poor in the initiators and mediators of inflammation and rich in anti-inflammatory agents. Furthermore, many of the anti-inflammatory agents are comparatively resistant to digestive enzymes and therefore might be expected to remain active in the gastrointestinal tract of the recipient. Further studies of these factors in in vivo models will be required to validate the hypothesis.