. The only option for reducing the risk or preventing it is to follow a
healthy lifestyle. The current study was undertaken to find if breastfeeding
could protect against the development of NAFLD and act as a modifiable risk
Data for the current study was gathered
from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study,
a multicenter prospective cohort study of 844 white and black women who were
followed up every two to five years for up to 30 years. The unique design of the CARDIA study allows evaluation of metabolic
risk factors (example - obesity, blood sugar and cholesterol levels) in a woman
right from pre-pregnancy years through pregnancy and up to lactation
- The enlisting for the study began in
1985-86 when all the participants were assessed for underlying risk
factors and biochemical markers
- Women who gave birth during the
study reported the duration of breastfeeding for each baby over the following
- On completion of the study period,
the women underwent a computed tomography (CT) scan of their abdomens, to
estimate the amount of fat in their livers as a sign of NALFD
were the Findings of Study
- Women who breastfed one or more
children for more than six months duration had a lesser risk of NAFLD
compared to women who never breastfed or did so for less than a month
- Women diagnosed with NAFLD 25 years
later had a bigger waist circumference, higher body mass index, higher triglycerides and lower
HDL cholesterol when compared to those without NAFLD
The current study, therefore, suggests
that breastfeeding women may be able to prevent or reduce the risk of
development of NAFLD compared to women who do not.
and its benefits to the child have been widely studied for years,"
said Veeral Ajmera, MD, a hepatologist at UC San Diego Health and an assistant
professor of medicine at UC San School of Medicine. "However, this new analysis contributes to the growing body of
evidence showing that breastfeeding a child also offers significant health
benefits to the mother -- namely, protecting her from developing non-alcoholic
fatty liver disease in middle age."
is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as the
name suggests occurs due to the accumulation of fat in the liver cells. The
reasons for this condition are not clear, but risk factors include the following
In the early stages, the condition may
not show any symptoms, but can gradually progress to cause irreversible
scarring and cirrhosis of
with an increased risk of liver cancer. There is no
specific treatment but lifestyle changes, weight reduction and treatment of
underlying risk factors can be beneficial
Diet & Exercise Maybe additional
Factor in Preventing Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
More research is required to find out how
breastfeeding affects Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and whether
breastfeeding can decrease the severity of the condition, but the current study
shows that socio-economic factors can influence development and progression of
serious metabolic diseases.
To conclude with the remarks of Ajmera, "Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and
all metabolic diseases have a unique relationship with socioeconomic factors.
The inclusion of additional information regarding diet and exercise only
further strengthen our claim that breastfeeding is beneficial in the prevention
of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."
- Longer lactation duration is associated with decreased prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in women - (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2018.09.013)