It’s well known that breastfeeding provides many benefits to both mother and child. There’s a growing body of evidence that it can reduce the risk of a woman developing breast and ovarian cancer. But according to new research, it could also prevent another type of chronic disease.
“We found that a longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women,” said lead study author Erica Gunderson.
Breastfeeding for six months or longer appears to significantly cut the chances of a woman developing Type 2 diabetes, a 30-year national U.S. study suggests.
In babies, breastfeeding has been connected to a lessened hazard for diseases, type 1 and sort 2 diabetes, a few growths and youth overweight and weight. In moms, breastfeeding encourages come back to pre-pregnancy weight and reduction baby blues blood misfortune and menstrual blood misfortune. Breastfeeding has additionally been related with a lower chance for bosom and ovarian growth in moms, as indicated by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The new study began 30 years ago when researchers recruited young women, then 18 to 30 years old, for a study on heart disease. During that study, researchers also gathered information on pregnancy and breast-feeding. They also tested the women every five years for diabetes.
That produced information on more than 1,200 women for the new study. Half were black, and half were white. All had at least one live birth.
The researchers adjusted the data to account for other factors that could affect a woman’s risk for type 2 diabetes. These included income, education, weight, diet quality, physical activity, medication use and other health conditions.
By the end of the 30-year study, 182 of the women had developed type 2 diabetes.
Women who breastfed for six months or less had a 25-per-cent reduction in diabetes risk.
The protective effect of breastfeeding didn’t differ by race or the presence of gestational diabetes, the study found.
Although the study cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship because it was observational, the researchers suspect that breast-feeding quickly returns the body to a more normal metabolic state. Other studies have shown that when women breastfeed, their triglycerides — a type of blood fat — and blood sugar levels return to normal more quickly. Breastfeeding moms also secrete less insulin and use fat tissue stores.
Dr. Rekha Kumar is an endocrinologist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s Comprehensive Weight Control Center in New York City. She also thinks that breastfeeding likely has beneficial effects on insulin and blood sugar metabolism.
“Breastfeeding makes you more sensitive to the hormone insulin,” Kumar said.
However, she added that larger studies need to be done to duplicate the findings and to better understand the mechanism behind the protective effect.
Still, Kumar said: “I loved this study. For a long time we have talked about the benefits of breastfeeding on infants, but we don’t always talk about the long-term benefits for mothers.”
Study author Gunderson said the benefits of breastfeeding may go beyond a reduction in type 2 diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes is a very strong risk factor for heart disease, it’s possible that breastfeeding could also lead to a reduction in heart disease, which could then potentially reduce health care costs.