One of AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention is that mothers breastfeed their babies, with research showing that being breastfed can help reduce future cancer risk by helping the baby stay a healthy weight as an adult. Now a recent study suggests a new way in which breastfeeding may offer protection from cancer as well as other diseases, finding that young adults who were breastfed have a lower risk of chronic inflammation compared to those not breastfed.
There is a growing body of research suggesting inflammation increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including some cancers. Overweight and obesity, a risk factor for eight cancers, may produce a low level state of chronic inflammation.
AICR also recommends breastfeeding because research suggests it protects mothers against breast cancer. With August being National Breastfeeding Month, the study adds another potential benefit to the many recognized positives of breastfeeding.
Study authors used data from almost 7,000 participants who were part of national study on adolescent health. Twenty years ago, the participants were teenagers going to middle and high school. They, and many of their parents were interviewed. Then in 2007-2008, when the participants were 24–32 years old, their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured from a blood sample. CRP is a marker of inflammation. Continue reading