LONDON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Breastfeeding duration is linked to chronic inflammation risk in early adulthood, which indicates the chances of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, a new study said Wednesday.
When immune system goes wrong, it would "overreact" and attack healthy organs, which causes chronic inflammation. Previous research showed that chronic inflammation increases the risk of heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
The new study, published in British scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found a "significant" association between duration of breastfeeding and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a key biomarker of inflammation, in blood samples of young adults.
Researchers from Northwestern University in the United States and other American universities analyzed blood samples of nearly 7,000 participants aged 24 to 32, 44.8 percent of whom were breastfed as infants.
Compared with individuals not breastfed, CRP concentrations were 20.1 percent, 26.7 percent, 29.6 percent and 29.8 percent lower among individuals breastfed for less than three months, three to six months, six to twelve months and greater than twelve months, respectively.
The authors of the paper concluded that, shorter durations of breastfeeding predict elevated concentrations of CRP in young adulthood, indicating increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Scientific research has found numerous benefits of breastfeeding for infants. In Britain, the Department of Health recommends six months of exclusive breastfeeding.