Topic: Babies Who Are Breastfed Have Lower Blood Pressure, Better Heart Health
Researchers say that babies who are breastfed for even a short period of time have lower blood pressure and better heart health.
Experts say this is because breast milk contains hormones that set the stage for better long-term health outcomes.
Officials recommend babies should be breastfed until they’re 6 months old, but only 1 in 4 infants is breastfed for that period of time.
Babies who are breastfed for any length of time have lower blood pressure at 3 years of age.
That’s the conclusion of a study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) that analyzed data from more than 2,000 children to determine the relationship between breastfeeding and blood pressure.
“We observed that children who were ever breastfed had lower blood pressure at the age of 3 years, even if they only briefly received early limited breastfeeding in the first few days of life,” the study authors wrote.
“Although the clinical relevance of these associations remains to be determined, these early differences in blood pressure could translate into meaningful reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease later [in] life and associated healthcare cost savings,” the authors added.
Of the 2,382 children studied, 49 were never breastfed, while 98 were breastfed only during their hospitalization in their early days of life.
The researchers found that at age 3, blood pressure was higher in the children who were never breastfed. Those who were only breastfed in the first few days of life had lower blood pressure when compared to their non-breastfed peers.
The long-term benefits of breast milk
Dr. Susan Crowe, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University in California, said it’s not surprising babies who are breastfed for only a few days receive the same benefits of lower blood pressure later in life.
“The first milk, colostrum, is full of active hormones that may set the stage for healthy outcomes long term. This study suggests that there is something important in colostrum that can have an impact even if only consumed during the early days after birth,” Crowe told Healthline.
“We know that colostrum is a concentrated form of milk that contains bioactive compounds such as growth factors, stem cells, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that influence the microbiome and may impact vascular endothelium, paving the way for healthier cardiovascular outcomes,” she added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, breastfeeding can have a variety of health benefits for both infants and mothers.
Topic Discussed: Babies Who Are Breastfed Have Lower Blood Pressure, Better Heart Health
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