Evidence Deepens That Breastfeeding Helps Moms Avoid Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2

| Dec 25, 2009

A 20-year study that tracked 704 women from before their first pregnancy onward suggests that the first year mothers breastfeed, they reduce their risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes within the next 15 years by 15 percent. Each subsequent year of breastfeeding further reduces the risk by 15 percent. For example, a mother who has two children and breastfeeds each for a year could enjoy a 30 percent reduction in her risk of type 2 over a 15-year period.

The study, conducted by HMO Kaiser Permanente, was originally intended to track the development of heart disease in the 704 women. Along the way, though, the exhaustive study picked up so much information on the women's lifestyle habits, pregnancies, and general health that the researchers were able to extrapolate information directly linked to breastfeeding's effects on metabolic syndrome, the precursor to type 2.

At the beginning of the study, none of the subjects had metabolic syndrome.  Over its 20-year duration, however, 120 developed the cluster of risk factors, including high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and blood glucose levels, excess belly fat and weight, and high cholesterol, that often lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

When researchers looked across their large database for common factors leading to metabolic syndrome or working against it, they found that the duration of breastfeeding seemed to have a direct effect on metabolic syndrome and the later development of type 2.  Compared to mothers who did not breastfeed, for example, women who breastfed from one to five months reduced their risk for future metabolic syndrome by 39 percent. Women who breastfed for more than nine months lowered their risk of metabolic syndrome by 56 percent.

There was also good news for women who develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancies. Depending on the number of months they breastfed, they reduced their risk of metabolic syndrome from 44 to 86 percent. Because gestational diabetes quadruples the risk of eventually acquiring type 2, lowering the chance of developing the precursor to type 2 was a welcome side effect of breastfeeding.

Further welcome news from the study is that breastfeeding new mothers lose their pregnancy weight more quickly than new moms who don't breastfeed. The Kaiser researchers said that their findings suggest that breastfeeding may be linked to a reduction in belly fat, one of the culprits in the development of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

The Kaiser study confirms conclusions reached in a 2005 Harvard Medical Study that analyzed data from two medical studies involving 160,000 nurses. That study showed a lowered risk of developing diabetes in women who breastfed.

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Breastfeeding May Reduce Diabetes Risk

Breastfeeding May Help Moms Stave Off Diabetes, Heart Trouble

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Categories: Blood Glucose, Breastfeeding, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Losing weight, Medications Research, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by conniebluesadie on 27 December 2009

Did your study address woman with chronic illness who breastfeed, and had previous weight gain due to medication prior to giving birth ? If so what were their statistics for developing type 2 or metabolic syndrome?
I breastfed my daughter for six months I was nursing her every hour and a half during the day and every two hours through out the night. Because I have fibromyalgia and CFIDS I had stopped all medications through out my pregnancy and of course while I was breast-feeding. The one morning I nursed her from both breast breasts and twenty minutes later she was screaming as if she had not been fed in hours was when I decided it was time for formula. I hoped six months of solid breast-feeding would give her all the benefits she could possibly receive from a very unpleasant experience. I would have quit but I knew it was the best possible thing I could do for my baby. She is now 17 years old a Jr in high school with a 4.33 GPA so she defiantly has the increase in brain function benefit. However, she had horrible colic for the first six months of her life, and now has IBS with constipation. She has allergies to the environment and she is on her second round of five years worth of weekly allergies shots, and she has migraines.
As for me I did not lose one bit of body fat while nursing, and fifteen years after breastfeeding I have become prediabetic. Now all of my weight gain is due to the medications I take to control my fibromyalgia many of these drugs are taken by other people with Type 2 diabetes, depression, and other health related problems.. Losing weight and trying to stay healthy with a chronic disease is not easy and it was extremely hard to fight through all the physical problems I was experiencing so I could breast feed my daughter but I knew if I could give her any extra benefit to her health by doing so it was worth it.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 December 2009

Doing the math, that means, my mother should have reduced the risk of her developing type 2 diabetes by 120% for the first year and knowing that she breastfed all my other 5 siblings and myself for exactly 2 years, this would be a reduction in this risk by at least 240% esp that she is not obese!!, I'm not calculating the duration this protection covers because the onset of her diabetes was when my youngest sis was 3 years old and I was 14 which of course is different from what the study reveals. If it discloses the situations that led the 120 participants to develop precursory type 2 Diabetes conditions that would be more interesting..

Now, I am into clinical research myself, and my interest in making sure she is well taken care of is driven by my willingness to look for all that can have relevance including a study like this, thanks for sharing this diabeteshealth...

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