In the ultimate of scientific dead horse beatings, the latest study to demonstrate the relevance of breastfeeding to human health is entitled, “Long-term effects of birth weight and breastfeeding duration on inflammation in early adulthood,” and has demonstrated, that low birth weight and short duration of breastfeeding predict adult inflammation.
A large cohort study with sibling comparators found that birth weight under 2.5kg and breastfeeding greater than or equal to 3 months were associated with lower (29.8%) CRP measures in adults. This suggests that inflammation may serve as a mediator connecting these early life exposures with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular illness, later in life.
The authors state:
Consumption of breast milk in infancy may have lasting effects on inflammation by shaping regulatory pathways during sensitive periods of immune development.
They go on to claim:
Clinical trials have demonstrated that statin therapy reduces CRP in healthy adults by 14.8–17.4% [53–55]. Our results suggest that the effects of breastfeeding on adult CRP are comparable, or larger, in magnitude.
This paper supports the science of epigenetics and the fetal origins of adult disease, but also the window of opportunity, postpartum, to support healthy inflammatory response. This is one of the reasons why breast milk can not be seen as a “food”. With inclusion of a unique maternal bacterial population, 200 unique oligosaccharides designed to feed beneficial bacteria in the infant gut, and exosome packets of immune-related gene modulators, these are not ingredients that can be replicated in a can of formula.
Read more on the topic here!