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Exclusive breastfeeding during first three months tied to lower LDL in teen years


Exclusive breastfeeding during first three months tied to lower LDL in teen years

Low-density lipoprotein is the designated “Bad” Cholesterol because a high LDL level is related l to a buildup of cholesterol in arteries technically known as Atherosclerosis. According to a new study Exclusive breastfeeding during the first three months is linked with lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in teen years.

Paediatricians often recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed infants until they are at least 6 months old. Rightly going by the recommendation, a new study in the journal Pediatrics has found that exclusive breastfeeding the babies for the first three months may promote a healthier cholesterol profile in their late adolescence compared to babies fed with the only formula.

Breast milk is known to have higher cholesterol than formula. Infants who consumed only breast milk had different cholesterol metabolism and synthesis compared to infants who are formula fed. However, not much is known whether breastfeeding is associated with subsequent lipid profile, independent of adiposity. Mary Schooling of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted the study to determine an association of breastfeeding in early infancy with lipid profile and adiposity at ∼17.5 years in a setting where exclusive breastfeeding is not associated with a higher socioeconomic position.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 3,261 babies born in Hong Kong in 1997, until they reached an average age of 17.5 years. Overall, about 7.5% of these infants were exclusively breastfed for the first three months of life; another 40% consumed a combination of breast milk and formula and 52% drank only formula.

Also Read: Breastfeeding is life saving for infants with congenital heart disease

Key findings of the study include:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding, but not mixed feeding at 0 to 3 months, compared with formula feeding was associated with lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but not with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol at ∼17.5 years.
  • BMI and fat percentage measured by bioimpedance did not differ by type of infant feeding.

Also Read: Breastfeeding longer than 6 months decreases NAFLD risk

“The differences we saw between breastfed and formula fed infants could be due to differences between the mothers who did and did not breastfeed,” Dr. Schooling told Reuters Health. “However, the adolescents in our study were born in Hong Kong in 1997 when breastfeeding was not so common and there were few differences between the mothers who did and did not breastfeed.”

Overweight teens tended to have higher total and LDL cholesterol levels than adolescents at healthy weights.

“Exclusive breastfeeding in early infancy may promote a healthier lipid profile in late adolescence through mechanisms unrelated to adiposity, implicating its potential long-term benefits for cardiovascular health,” concluded the authors.

For detailed study log on to doi10.1542/peds.2018-3075


Source: With inputs from Pediatrics

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