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Breastfeeding Cuts Mom’s Risk of Alzheimer’s by Two-Thirds

Breastfeeding and Alzheimer's Risk ReductionWant to avoid Alzheimer’s disease later in life? Try breastfeeding your children for as long as possible. A new study of British mothers has found that breastfeeding moms reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by two-thirds.

The study conducted by researchers at Cambridge University found that, the longer a mother breastfeeds, the lower her chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Researchers interviewed 81 British mothers between the ages of 70 and 100.  Some of the women had the disease while others did not. Researchers also interviewed their family members to gather as much information as possible.

Scientists gathers information about the women’s reproductive history, breastfeeding history, and their dementia status.

Researchers took into account age, educational history, the age when the woman first gave birth, menopausal age, and smoking and drinking history.

Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers found that women who breastfed reduced their Alzheimer’s risk by 64% compared to women who did not breastfeed.

The research also found that women who breastfed for at least one year had a 78% decrease in Alzheimer’s cases compared to women who breastfed for four months.

The study also found that breastfeeding offset the  higher risk of Alzheimer’s linked to more months of pregnancy.

Researchers do note that a female with parents or siblings with dementia do not benefit from breastfeeding at the same level of women with no history of dementia in her family. 

One explanation for the decrease in Alzheimer’s is that breastfeeding reduces the hormone progesterone. That hormone is known to desensitize the brain’s oestrogen receptors. Oesterogen is known to protect the brain against dementia.

Researchers also hypothesize that breastfeeding increases glucose tolerance by restoring insulin sensitivity following pregnancy. 

With 35.6 million people affected by Alzheimer’s worldwide, this study could help protect a large portion of the population if women simply choose to breastfeed rather than use baby formula. 

Researchers in England conducted the study after realizing that only 1% of mothers in England exclusively breastfeed for at least six months.

References

Mothers who breastfeed slash their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by TWO-THIRDS, claims study: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2384955/Mothers-breastfeed-slash-risk-developing-Alzheimer-s-TWO-THIRDS-claims-study.html

Image Credits

Breastfeeding and Alzheimer’s Risk Reduction: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e4/Lactancia_bebe_aire_libre.jpg

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