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Research on the links between breastfeeding and cholesterol (and related disorders)

Breastmilk in infancy leading to reduced cholesterol levels in adolescence

This study of 926 preterm babies provides experimental evidence for the long-term benefits of breastmilk feeding on the risk of atherosclerosis. This study reinforces the growing body of evidence for an increased risk of cardiovascular risk factors among adolescents and adults who were artificially fed in infancy.

Singhal A et al (2004). Breastmilk feeding and lipoprotein profile in adolescents born preterm: follow-up of a prospective randomised study. Lancet 363: 1571-78

Long term benefits for cardiovascular health

A cross-sectional study of 1,532 adolescents in 10 British towns and a systematic review of studies found breastfeeding to be associated with increased mean serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in infancy but with lower levels in adulthood/adult life. The authors conclude that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.

Owen CG et al (2002). Infant Feeding and Blood Cholesterol: A Study in Adolescents and a Systematic Review.Pediatrics 110: 597-608.