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Effects of Prolonged Breastfeeding and Colostrum Fatty Acids on Allergic Manifestations and Infections in Infancy

Citation

Morales, Eva; Garcia-Esteban, Raquel; Guxens, Monica; Guerra, Stefano; Mendez, Michelle A.; Molto-Puigmarti, Carolina; Lopez-Sabater, M. Carmen; & Sunyer, Jordi (2012). Effects of Prolonged Breastfeeding and Colostrum Fatty Acids on Allergic Manifestations and Infections in Infancy. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 42(6), 918-928.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In developed countries World Health Organization recommendation of 6 months' exclusive breastfeeding is under debate.
OBJECTIVE: We assessed the impact of predominant breastfeeding (PBF) duration and colostrum long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) profile on the risk of allergic manifestations (wheezing and atopic eczema) and infections [low respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and gastroenteritis] in infancy.
METHODS: Information on child feeding practices was obtained from 580 infants of a pregnancy cohort. Presence of infant's health outcomes was documented through questionnaires at 6 and 14 months of age. The LC-PUFAs were measured in colostrum. Adjusted odds ratios (adjOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using multivariable logistic regression models.
RESULTS: In comparison with never breastfeeding, PBF for 4-6 months was associated with lower risk of wheezing (adjOR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.32, 0.89), LRTIs (adjOR = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.31, 0.83) and atopic eczema (adjOR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.32, 1.04) between months 7 and 14 of life. Results of a risk period-specific analysis (restricted to infants at risk for outcome onset after 6 months of age), showed no indication for reverse causation (results were not very different compared with an overall analysis). Predominantly breastfeeding for 4-6 months was associated with lower risk of gastroenteritis during the first 6 months of life (adjOR = 0.34; 95% CI, 0.18, 0.64). Among breastfed infants higher doses of arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid, and total n-3 in were associated with a decreased risk of gastroenteritis, but no association was found for allergic manifestations or LRTI.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Promotion of PBF for 4-6 months could reduce the burden of allergic manifestations and infections in infancy. Beneficial effects of breastfeeding on gastroenteritis were explained in part by exposure to higher doses of n-3 and AA received from colostrum. No significant effects from fatty acid dose were found on risk of allergic manifestations or LRTIs.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2222.2012.03969.x

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2012

Journal Title

Clinical and Experimental Allergy

Author(s)

Morales, Eva
Garcia-Esteban, Raquel
Guxens, Monica
Guerra, Stefano
Mendez, Michelle A.
Molto-Puigmarti, Carolina
Lopez-Sabater, M. Carmen
Sunyer, Jordi