Research on the links between breastfeeding and cholesterol (and related disorders)
Breastfeeding in infancy and lipid profile in adolescence
This study explored whether there was an association between breastfeeding in the first three months of life with lipid profile and adiposity at around 17.5 years. The researchers included 3,261 participants in the Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort Children of 1997, adjusting for sex, birth weight, gestational weeks, parity, pregnancy characteristics, parents’ highest education, mother’s place of birth, and age at follow-up. They found that exclusive breastfeeding, but not mixed feeding at 0 to 3 months, compared with formula feeding was associated with lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but not with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol at ∼17.5 years. BMI and fat percentage measured by bioimpedance did not differ by type of infant feeding.
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.
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.