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Lactating mothers can reduce risk of diabetes through breastfeeding, says study

The metabolites in women who breastfed for more than three months differed significantly from those who had shorter lactation periods.

Zee Media Bureau

London: Breastfeeding is as important for the development of a baby as it is for the well-being of the mother, since it impacts both their health.

Breastfeeding extends beyond basic nutrition, also reducing the mother's stress-levels as well as risk of postpartum depression.

Not only that, it also puts you at a lesser risk of some types of cancers.

Now, adding to the benefits of breastfeeding, a new study has discovered that breastfeeding has the potential to reduce the long-term risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among women with gestational diabetes, and is a cost-effective intervention.

The metabolites in women who breastfed for more than three months differed significantly from those who had shorter lactation periods.

"Longer periods of lactation are linked to a change in the production of phospholipids and to lower concentrations of branched-chain amino acids in the mothers' blood plasma," lead-author Daniela Much from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen -- a German recearch institute.

The metabolites involved were linked in earlier studies with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

"The findings of our study provide new insights into disease-related metabolic pathways that are influenced by lactation and could thus be the underlying reason for the protective effect," added Sandra Hummel from Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen.

Previous studies have showed that breastfeeding for more than three months postpartum has a protective effect, which lasts for up to 15 years after gestational diabetes.

(With IANS inputs)

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