Longer Breast-Feeding Tied to More Protective Adipokines

Both total and exclusive breast-feeding linked to higher pancreatic peptide YY

THURSDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- The duration of breast-feeding is associated with higher maternal ghrelin and pancreatic peptide YY (PYY) levels at three years postpartum, independent of other risk factors for metabolic disease, according to a study published in the April issue of Diabetes.

Alison M. Stuebe, M.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues assessed the relationship between duration of breast-feeding and maternal adipokines (leptin, adiponectin, ghrelin, and PYY) at three years postpartum in 570 participants of Project Viva. They collected three-year postpartum blood samples and lactation history from participants without intervening pregnancy.

The investigators found that 88 percent of mothers initiated breast-feeding, with 26 percent breast-feeding for 12 months or more, and 42 percent breast-feeding exclusively for three months or more. After adjusting for family history of diabetes, parity, smoking, age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, and gestational weight gain, the duration of total breast-feeding was linked to PYY and ghrelin levels, and duration of exclusive breast-feeding was associated with ghrelin levels. There was a nonlinear correlation between exclusive breast-feeding duration and adiponectin levels.

"We found that longer duration of breast-feeding was associated with higher maternal levels of ghrelin and PYY at three years postpartum. These two gut peptides regulate appetite and are associated with reduced risk of metabolic disease," the authors write.

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