Asthma : Breastfeeding May Reduce Risk of Asthma, ADHD, and Other Ills

Studies regularly prove that the healthiest way to feed a newborn baby is by breastfeeding, and most woman in the UK are choosing to follow this advice and nurse the child exclusively for at least the first 6 months, before slowly introducing the child to other foods. Here are some of the positive benefits that have been discovered on the overall health and development of babies who are breastfed: 1

• less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result • fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result • less chance of being constipated • less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life • less chance of developing eczema • less chance of asthma-related symptoms

A researcher at Generation R and lead author from the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, Dr Agnes Sonnenschein-van der Voort, had this to say in regards to a study conducted on respiratory problems in childhood: "The link of duration and exclusiveness of breastfeeding with asthma-related symptoms during the first 4 years was independent of infectious and atopic diseases.

These results support current health policy strategies that promote exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months in industrialised countries. Further studies are needed to explore the protective effect of breastfeeding on the various types of asthma in later life." 2 Compared with children who were breastfed for 6 months, those who were never breastfed had overall increased risks of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during the first 4 yrs (OR 1.44 (95% CI 1.24–1.66), 1.26 (1.07–1.48), 1.25 (1.08–1.44) and 1.57 (1.29–1.91), respectively).

Similar associations were observed for exclusive breastfeeding. The strongest associations per symptom per year were observed for wheezing at 1 and 2 yrs. Additionally adjusted analyses showed that the associations of breastfeeding with asthma-related symptoms were not explained by eczema but partly by lower respiratory tract infections. 3

New Study on ADHD shows a lower risk to breastfed babies:

Now researchers from Tel Aviv University have shown that breastfeeding may also help protect against Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the most commonly diagnosed neurobehavioral disorder in children and adolescents.

Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Head of the Child Neurodevelopmental Center in Loewenstein Hospital, and her fellow researchers completed a retrospective study on the breastfeeding habits of parents of three groups of children: a group that had been diagnosed with ADHD; siblings of those diagnosed with ADHD; and a control group of children without ADHD and lacking any genetic ties to the disorder.

In their study, the researchers compared breastfeeding histories of children from six to 12 years of age and found a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD, even when typical risk factors were taken into consideration. 4

At three months, only 43 percent of children in the ADHD group were breastfed compared to 69 percent of the sibling group and 73 percent of the control group. At six months, 29 percent of the ADHD group was breastfed, compared to 50 percent of the sibling group and 57 percent of the control group. 5

While researchers do not yet know why breastfeeding has an impact on the future development of ADHD -- it could be due to the breast milk itself, or the special bond formed between mother and baby during breastfeeding, for example -- they believe this research shows that breastfeeding can have a protective effect against the development of the disorder, and can be counted as an additional biological advantage for breastfeeding. 4

ChemistDirect’s Superintendant Pharmacist Omar El-Gohary states: “Breastfeeding plays an important part of a baby’s development. Studies have previously established a link between breastfeeding and IQ, and now this latest data demonstrates the impact it can have in lowering the risk of developing behavioural disorders”.






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