Could Breastfeeding Lower the Mother's Risk for Alzheimer's Disease?

First Posted: Aug 05, 2013 12:15 PM EDT

Health experts can't seem to make up their minds on most matters. However, one thing they do seem to agree on is the best nourishment for an infant: Breast milk.

A process that not only helps a mother burn extra calories and lose pregnancy weight faster, it helps provide the newborn with an essential mix of vitamins, protein and fat that might not be as available in baby formulas.

Well a new study shows that breastfeeding can also provide even more benefits--especially for mom. In fact, mothers who breastfeed their babies may be at a lower risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.

The National Institute of Aging shows that this irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys both memory and thinking skills can eventually create the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living, and for most, symptoms of the disease usually appear after age 60.

According to a study based on a sample size of 81 British women, researchers found that the relationship between breastfeeding and AD was "so strong that any potential sampling error was unlikely." The study also showed that women who breastfed for a longer period of time were at a lower risk of developing AD, all together.

However, if women have a genetic predisposition to the disease, breastfeeding may not lower their risk for this type of dementia.

Yet researchers are hopeful regarding new possibilities linked to studying breastfeeding and its positive abilities on both cognitive function in newborns and their mothers.

More information regarding the study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

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