Babies fed on breast milk less likely to die early in adulthood, study finds

 

Children who are not breastfed are more at risk of suffering from a disease or dying early, a study has found.

Not receiving milk from their mother makes babies more likely to suffer from chronic inflammation as adults, increasing their chances of disease, disability and early death, it said.

On-going body-wide inflammation is also associated with low birth weight, the same research showed.

Chronic inflammation, caused by a hyperactive immune system, has been linked to heart disease, strokes, type-2 diabetes, late-life disability, and a greater risk of dying. The condition is a natural response by the body’s immune system but prolonged inflammation occurs when no infectious substances are present.

The new research found that adult levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation blood marker, rose with shorter durations of breastfeeding in infancy.

Compared with receiving no mothers’ milk at all, being breastfed for less than three months reduced CRP levels by a fifth. Breastfeeding for three to six months lowered CRP levels by 26.7 per cent, six to 12 months by 29.6 per cent, and more than 12 months by 29.8 per cent.

The effect was at least the same as that produced by treatment with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Higher birth weight was also associated with lower CRP for individuals who weighed more than 2.5kg.

CRP was 9.2 per cent greater for those weighing in at 2.8kg than for those born a kilogram heavier.

The findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, come from a US study of almost 7,000 US men and women aged 24 to 32. Less than half the participants (44.8 per cent) were breastfed for any length of time as infants.

Dr Thomas McDade, from Northwestern University and his team of researchers wrote: “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 in the US and the UK.

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

The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a baby’s life.

Thereafter, mothers are encouraged to continue feeding with breast milk alongside solid food into at least their baby’s second year.

Cost blocks breast cancer drug

A new drug for breast cancer which extends women’s lives by almost six months is to be blocked from routine NHS access.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said Kadcyla can cost more than £90,000 per patient and is not effective enough to justify the price.

The watchdog, which decides which new medicines are cost effective, said its guidance for the drug was in draft form and is now up for public consultation.

PA

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - eCommerce - OTE £100k

    £50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning digital age...

    Recruitment Genius: Training and Development Consultant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This software development organisation are loo...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable