High cholesterol and lactation-How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers' Health - Scientific American

Origins of hyperlipidemia and cholestasis that occur during pregnancy were investigated by examining expression of key elements related to plasma and hepatic cholesterol metabolism during pregnancy, lactation, and post-lactation in the rat model. In later stages of lactation most hepatic elements returned to near control levels. Plasma cholesterol levels were higher than control at birth and during lactation with increase in LDL-size particles. By 24 h post-lactation, plasma triglycerides were 3. Very large lipoproteins were present while LDL-size particles were now absent.

High cholesterol and lactation

Shooting leg pain in pregnancy. Serum cholesterol and lipoprotein concentrations in mothers during and after prolonged exclusive lactation. It occurs in virtually all pregnant women and resolves in most in the first months after delivery. Friedman G. Moreover, such advantages may persist several years post-weaning [ 5 — 13 ].

Quotes poems for moms. Get smart. Sign up for our email newsletter.

Popular stories currently unavailable Top videos Popular videos currently unavailable. Report 0 Reply to Post. Any advice? Vowels has a journalism degree from University Sex doll warehouse Portland in Portland, Ore. By: Amanda Calnan Vowels. However, the excess above may chlesterol reflect her High cholesterol and lactation HDL cholesterol. Then, inwhile in the hospital recovering from minor hand surgery, she had a heart attack. Search Most popular on msnbc. Amanda Calnan Vowels. Excessive accumulation of one or more of the major lipids in plasma can produce a marked increase in the risk of coronary heart diseases and other vascular complications. I'm ladtation sure what to do, but the doctor wasn't very helpful.

Metrics details.

  • When people meet Claire Blocker of Charlotte, N.
  • Amanda Calnan Vowels.
  • Excessive accumulation of one or more of the major lipids in plasma can produce a marked increase in the risk of coronary heart diseases and other vascular complications.
  • So I went to the doctor earlier this month and they checked my cholesterol.
  • .

  • .

The benefits of breast milk for babies are numerous. Lower rates of childhood obesity, decreased incidence of asthma and even better brain development are all linked with drinking more of mother's milk in infancy, and despite decades of research and promising marketing claims, the formula industry has not caught up to mother nature in the milk department.

But even if technicians could develop a better food for infants, researchers are now realizing that skipping the lactation phase would be problematic for mothers' health.

In fact, not breastfeeding after giving birth seems to put women at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious health conditions. The mechanisms behind these increased risks are still being sorted out, but researchers think that by not engaging in the process that the body prepares for during pregnancy, many crucial systems can go out of whack.

And the effects can last for decades after children are weaned. When women cannot or choose not to breastfeed, "there are myriad consequences, and we're just figuring them out," she says. This image, based on medical imaging and computer rendering by the Visual MD , reveals the some of the biological systems affected during lactation, many of which are now thought to have lasting effects on a woman's health.

Costs of not nursing About 85 percent of U. Almost three quarters of women in the latest year for which data are available started breastfeeding their infants shortly after birth. By six months, however, only 42 percent of women were still feeding their babies any breast milk at all with 12 percent still feeding exclusively breast milk at that point.

Considering the improved health outcomes for the infants alone, the U. And that sum says nothing of the money that might be saved on health costs for mothers if they breastfed, which Bartick estimates would be "significant. For example, among women who had children, those who did not breastfeed had a For women who never become pregnant, many of their risks seem to be closer to those who have children and breastfed.

Mobilizing mothers' fat Those breastfeeding benefits accrue in part because nursing can start to break down some of the fat that accumulates in women's bodies during pregnancy. At first, some mothers despair for their figures because having children generally leads to thicker midsections and thighs as women's bodies change to nourish a developing fetus and boost stores for feeding the baby once it is born.

Although not optimal for long-term health, this extra weight serves an important evolutionary function. Producing milk for a single infant requires about extra calories a day. Various analyses have come back with different information of the ability of breastfeeding to help women slim down more quickly after pregnancy. New research presented in March from Schwarz and Candace McClure, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Epidemiology, found that women who had not breastfed had an average of about seven and a half additional centimeters of fat around their waists as gleaned from CT scans.

But as Schwarz points out, "not all body fat is created equal. Their CT study also found that, of the women aged 45 to 58, those who had children and not breastfed had 28 percent more visceral fat than those who had consistently breastfed.

Lactating women appear to be better at mobilizing these new fat stores than new mothers who are using formula. And not shedding those extra post-pregnancy pounds may put women at risk for complications in later pregnancies as well as metabolic syndrome and related health problems, Stuebe and colleagues noted in a January review article published in the American Journal of Perinatology.

One big concern about these additional fat stores is their potential role in upping chances for diabetes later in life. Pregnancy itself can decrease glucose tolerance and raise insulin resistance, hence the prevalence of gestational diabetes. But research is accumulating to suggest that the process of lactation works to re-establish the balance of these key sensitivities. According to a cohort analysis by Stuebe et al.

Women who develop gestational diabetes are generally thought to be at higher risk for developing regular diabetes later in life. But new research has shown that this increased risk is significantly lessened for women who breastfeed for more than nine months, Schwarz points out.

She adds that being able to tell women who have had gestational diabetes that breastfeeding will lower their chances of getting diabetes later has given her and many of her patients renewed hope for their future health. Helping heart health Breastfeeding helps mothers' cardiovascular health in very specific ways, Schwartz found in her analysis of postmenopausal women.

In fact, those who had breastfed for more than 12 months were about 10 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared with women who had not breastfed. Schwarz and others are still trying to figure out why not nursing might lead to hardened arteries and other cardiovascular risk factors. One possible explanation hinges on cholesterol levels, which increase during pregnancy.

For mothers who do not breastfeed, levels of triglycerides seem to take longer by about three months to reach pre-pregnancy levels. Nursing mothers also seemed to have higher levels of high-density lipoprotein HDL, or so-called "good cholesterol" while they were breastfeeding. But these shorter-term effects do not entirely clear up some of the questions surrounding heart disease later in life. Better long-term heart health for breastfeeding mothers might stem in part from blood pressure, which was "significantly higher" in mothers who had not breastfed than in those who had mmHg and mmHg, respectively , according to the Schwarz study.

Research has suggested that one in 29 cases of postmenopausal hypertension could be avoided if mothers breastfed for at least 12 months during their reproductive years.

Risks for cardiovascular disease in lactating versus non-lactating mothers seem to be firm regardless of BMI, which is usually a factor for both conditions. This finding "indicates that lactation does more than simply reduce a woman's fat stores," Schwarz and her colleagues wrote in their May paper. They proposed that hormonal stimulation is likely playing a substantial role. The neurotransmitter oxytocin , which is released during nursing, seems to help women get to that "blissed-out state" many women have while breastfeeding, Stuebe says.

And this relaxed state of mind can help women cope with all the stresses "that go with being a new mom. Cutting chances of cancer Perhaps the most well-known maternal benefit of breastfeeding is reduced risks for breast and ovarian cancers. New research is underscoring that link and shedding new light on some of the ways in which not nursing puts some women at higher risk. For every 12 months a woman breastfed, her risk of breast cancer dropped 4.

Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group. And for women who have a family history of breast cancer, breastfeeding seemed to decrease the risk of getting it, according to an analysis of data from more than 60, women led by Stuebe, published August in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Whereas the potent drug Tamoxifen can reduce risk for those with a mother or sister who had breast cancer by about half, "moms who had breastfed at all had about 60 percent less risk," Stuebe says.

The mechanisms behind these statistics remain unclear. Women who had taken medication to suppress lactation also seemed to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who gave birth but did not breastfeed, according to recent research by Stuebe and colleagues though these drugs have questionable safety records.

These findings hint that the changes in breasts that become engorged with milk that is not expressed could up the chances for breast cancer down the road. Ovarian cancer risk also appears to be partially tied in with breastfeeding. When compared with women who had breastfed for at least 18 months, mothers who never breastfed had a 1. One hypothesis for the ovarian cancer connection is that small infections that often occur during breastfeeding known as mastitis might serve to protect the body against tumors in the future.

Antibodies that develop to fight the mastitis would persist in the body, and corollary evidence has shown that women who breastfed but did not have these antibodies were more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who breastfed and did have the antibodies.

Assessing limitations Although knowledge on the health rewards of breastfeeding only seems to be growing, many of these apparently protective effects do seem to diminish with time. In Schwarz's study of postmenopausal women, those aged 60 to 69 were only significantly less likely to get cardiovascular disease than those who had formula-fed if they had lactated for a total of 13 to 23 months, according to the analysis published last May.

And women who were 70 to 79 years old appeared to be at about the same risk for cardiovascular disease as their formula-feeding compatriots—regardless of how much they had breastfed during their younger years. Despite the multitude of studies on maternal health outcomes and breastfeeding, many are small or based on methodologies that can fall prey to unintentional biases. Although many studies try to control for lifestyle, they asserted, "women who breastfeed are more likely to engage in other healthy behaviors" and these are challenging to fully take into account.

There also might be a sort of long-term feedback loop, in which women who were breastfed as infants would be more likely to breastfeed their own children, thus benefiting from both their own early breast milk diet and the effects of lactating themselves, as Schwarz has pointed out.

No matter how many factors researchers have controlled for, confounding variables continue to abound. Big questions about the complex relationship between breastfeeding and obesity remain. Although some studies have tied breastfeeding to faster weight loss, the dynamic is much more complicated. Being obese at delivery has also been linked to difficulty breastfeeding and decreased release of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates lactation, as Stuebe pointed out in her paper.

So teasing out finer elements of causation—and possibilities for mitigation—continues to challenge researchers looking for effective ways to study breastfeeding. The best way to study the effects of breast and formula feeding on mothers and children would be to design a long-term, randomized controlled trial, which is the research gold standard in many medical fields. But given the accumulated literature on the benefits of breastfeeding, such a trial would be "ethically problematic," depriving half of the mother-baby dyads, Stuebe and her colleague noted in their paper.

One subtle but central adjustment in both the research and popular opinion has been to shift the act of breastfeeding from the experimental group to the baseline assessment. When assessed as the norm, breastfeeding should not bestow benefits as much as formula feeding increases risks. The research is still evolving, however, and Stuebe is not sure we have found all of the reasons breastfeeding should be a no-brainer health choice when it is an option. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber?

Sign in. See Subscription Options. Read more from this special report: The Mother-Baby Bond. Get smart. Sign up for our email newsletter. Sign Up. See Subscription Options Already a subscriber? Sign In See Subscription Options.

By Marie Karns msnbc. Pregnant or lactating women often have high cholesterol, but the baby needs cholesterol from the mother, she says. I am not sure if you are overweight or not, but I was. I've been breastfeeding DS for 7 months now, he stopped drinking from bottles at 7 weeks. Claire Blocker, of Charlotte, N. While synthetic infant formulas are beginning to include fatty acids, the absorption of these additives is less effective than in breast milk.

High cholesterol and lactation

High cholesterol and lactation. Men not the only ones at risk for clogged arteries


Effect of pregnancy and lactation on lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism in the rat

Why your cholesterol levels are naturally higher in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and why you should steer clear of cholesterol-blocking food products. By ThinkBaby. After initially falling during the first trimester of pregnancy, your cholesterol levels are naturally higher than usual during the second two trimesters when general fat levels rise as hormones prompt the liver to increase production.

Doctors believe that this is all as it should be as cholesterol helps to make cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D and so is needed for healthy fetal development.

The raised HDL cholesterol level continues for breastfeeding mums and again, is thought to be beneficial to both mother and baby. There are a variety of these cholesterol-blockers on the market, usually in dairy products like margarine or yoghurt, of which Benecol is probably the best known. All these products should contain warnings in small print for pregnant and lactating women. But still watch your dietary sources of cholesterol However, the importance of cholesterol to general health and fetal development is not a green card to indulge your pregnant or breastfeeding self with a feast of fatty treats.

What if I have already been diagnosed with a cholesterol problem? This is because available anti-cholesterol drugs, known as statins, are not yet considered safe for use during pregnancy and could be transferred to the infant during feeding with damaging consequences.

Treatment through diet and exercise works in two ways. Through reducing your dietary intake of cholesterol you can lower your LDL, bad cholesterol, levels. Meanwhile exercise prompts the production of HDL to improve the ratio in your blood.

Home Pregnancy Pregnancy Health Cholesterol levels in pregnancy and feeding. Cholesterol levels in pregnancy and feeding Why your cholesterol levels are naturally higher in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and why you should steer clear of cholesterol-blocking food products. Comments Please read our Chat guidelines. The Amazon baby wishlist: everything you need to know. How to keep your child safe at a fireworks display.

You may also like. Pregnancy Health. Beat pregnancy snuffles. Pre-eclampsia explained. Coping with loss and stress during pregnancy. Shooting leg pain in pregnancy.

High cholesterol and lactation