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Breastfeeding reduces inflammation risks in adults.

Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from chronic inflammation as adults, a study has found.


Chronic inflammation, which is also associated with low birth weight, is caused by a hyperactive immune system and has been linked to heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, disability and early death.

Researchers found higher levels of an inflammation blood marker (C-reactive protein (CRP)) in adults who were breastfed for shorter periods in infancy.

While being breastfed for less than three months reduced CRP levels by 20%, adults who were breastfed as babies for three to six months saw a drop in their CRP levels by 26.7%, six to 12 months by 29.6%, and more than a year by 29.8%.

The effect of breastfeeding on CRP levels is said to be similar to that of cholesterol reducing statins. The US study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analysed data of around 7,000 US men and women aged 24 to 32, of whom 44.8% were breastfed.

Dr Thomas McDade from Northwestern University in Illinois, said: 'We present evidence that lower birth weight and shorter durations of breastfeeding both predict elevated concentrations of CRP in young adulthood, indicating increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases that are major health burdens.

'Clinical trials have demonstrated that statin therapy reduces CRP in healthy adults by 14.8% to 17.4%. Our results suggest that the effects of breastfeeding on adult CRP are comparable, or larger, in magnitude.'

Unite/CPHVA Professional Officer, Dave Munday, said: 'It's good to hear further evidence that emphasises the benefits of breastfeeding. It's also useful to hear the comparison made with medication. Our members deserve great credit for the benefits they bring by supporting mums to breastfeed and this should be at the front of their minds when they're discussing their impact with local authority commissioners.'

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Title Annotation:NEWS ROUND-UP
Publication:Community Practitioner
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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