Breastfeeding May Protect Children From Fatty Liver Disease In Their Teens


Breastfeeding has been linked to many Health Benefits in infants — a tally which may now include a reduced risk of developing Non- Alcoholic fatyy liver in adolescence, according to research.

The researchers found that Breastfeeding  for at least six months reduced the risk of an infant developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence by a third compared to those who were fed less than six months. In addition to breastfeeding, researchers found that pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index),  a measure of body fat and general health, also was linked to a child’s risk of developing the disease. Mothers whose BMI fell within a normal range — between 18.5 and 24.9 — reduced an infant’s risk of developing the liver disease by a half compared to those whose mothers didn't.

Observed a link between a mother’s metabolic health and the health outcomes of their children, including the development of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a growing public health concern, affecting up to 25 percent of people living in the U.S. What’s more, the prevalence of the disease, marked by the buildup of extra fat in liver cells, is rising in adolescents and children.

In fact,Recent Studies claim it has become the most common liver disease in people between the ages of two to 19 years. Although the cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is unknown, it is believed that obesity, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes are factors that may signal an increased risk of developing the condition.

"We wanted to see if there was any association between adolescent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, maternal factors and infant nutrition.” "Our results demonstrate the grave impact maternal factors can have on the risk of developing liver disease in adolescence."

The authors examined data from an earlier long-running study of pregnant women and their eventual children. Specifically, they looked at the health records of 1,170 17-year-olds enrolled in the study, poring through questionnaires, direct interviews, physical examinations and blood tests in order to assess how they grew up inside and outside of the womb. The physical examinations also included liver ultrasounds capable of diagnosing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

More than 15 percent of the teens studied were diagnosed with the liver condition. Interestingly, while the protective effect of breastfeeding appeared to kick in after six months, breastfeeding for more than nine months didn't further reduce the odds of developing it.

“Optimizing maternal health before and during gestation is an important health measure for both mother and child alike.” He added that they also lend support to “the growing notion that there are environmental, genetic and epigenetic components to metabolic disease.”