Mums who breastfeed could reduce the risks of developing diabetes

By just breastfeeding their child for a month, mothers could reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a condition that can develop into diabetes or heart disease. Whilst it has always been thought that women who breastfeed have better levels of glucose and fat in their blood due to the lactation this new discovery offers even more incentive for women to breastfeed. 

Metabolic syndrome generally affects women from ages 20 – 60 and with most childbearing occurring during the early part of this age range; it could prove a vulnerable time for the condition. Symptoms normally involve high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity and the syndrome is a grouping together of all these risks and strongly shows a risk of diabetes or heart disease for women mid-life and can lead to an early death. Breastfeeding is thought to help reduce these risks; primarily the obesity can be avoided as women who breastfeed are thought to lose weight quicker but it could also reduce the “belly fat” building up that can cause type 2 diabetes. Equally, women who had gestational diabetes and have high levels of glucose in their blood during pregnancy are thought to get more protection later on in their lives if they breastfeed. It can cut the risk of pre diabetes by nearly 90%.

Whilst the results of these tests conducted in California do show favorable indications that breastfeeding could benefit a woman’s health considerably, they are only indications. Although it isn’t thought that the results are anything to do with differences in other lifestyle aspects that could affect your health, e.g. weight gain. However, it perhaps will provide a good answer for any women who are considering breast feeding. The results will be printed in-depth in February’s edition of the Diabetes journal.

Tuesday 8th December 2009

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