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

PROMOTED VIDEO
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: PHP Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

    Recruitment Genius: PA

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - London - £43,000

    £35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Analyst...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness