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BVKJ: Asthma is less developed in breastfed children
Breast milk not only provides infants with the nutrients necessary for development, but also has a positive effect on the health of the child. In a recent study, this was also confirmed in relation to later asthma diseases in children. Breast-fed children were therefore less affected by the disease than non-breast-fed children.
“An analysis of children with asthma showed that children who were breastfed were 45% less likely to experience a significant worsening of their asthma symptoms later in life compared to children who were not breastfed were, ”reports the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ). Dutch scientists from the University of Utrecht had published a corresponding study in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.
Breastfeeding reduces asthma symptoms
For their study, the researchers analyzed the data of 960 children between the ages of four and twelve who took regular asthma medication. The occurrence of asthma symptoms in breastfed and non-breastfed children was compared. A distinction was also made between breastfed children between long (more than six months) and short (less than six months) breastfed children. The scientists came to the clear conclusion that breastfeeding was associated with a lower intensity of asthma symptoms. Even fewer symptoms were found in the long-breastfed children than in the short-breasted subjects.
Does breastfeeding prevent asthma?
To what extent breastfeeding contributes to a general reduction in the risk of asthma remains open, according to the researchers. "Although our study suggests that breastfeeding can prevent asthma from worsening over time, it is still unclear whether there is a causal relationship between breastfeeding and asthma exacerbations," said the BVKJ, the lead author of the study, Dr. Anke Maitland-van der Zee.
Influencing the immune system via the intestinal flora
According to the experts, a possible connection with the risk of asthma could be explained by the effect of breastfeeding on the immune system. Because breastfeeding influences the composition and activity of the intestinal flora in early life and thus also in the longer term the immune system.
"These changes could indirectly determine the course of asthma," said the study author. Further research is now needed to verify this association and to clarify the underlying mechanisms. (fp)