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Metabolism. 1992 Dec;41(12):1327-30.

Serum cholesterol and lipoprotein concentrations in mothers during and after prolonged exclusive lactation.

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  • 1Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The effect of exclusive lactation on lipid levels was investigated by evaluating serum concentrations of total and lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), and apoprotein (apo) B in mothers during and after exclusive, prolonged lactation. Serum total cholesterol concentrations were measured at delivery (n = 195), at 2 (n = 165), 6 (n = 119), 9 (n = 74), and 12 months (n = 32) of lactation, and 2 months (n = 27) after ending this exclusive lactation. In a subgroup of 34 mothers, serum levels of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein 2 (HDL2), HDL3, and LDL apo B were determined at 2, 6, 9, and 12 months of lactation. The mean value of serum total cholesterol concentrations decreased from 6.2 +/- 0.12 (SEM; n = 195) at delivery to 4.8 +/- 0.1 mmol/L (n = 116) at 6 months of exclusive lactation (P < .001). The average decrement in total cholesterol level was 0.80 mmol/L (P < .001) from delivery to 2 months of lactation and 0.55 mmol/L (P < .001) from 2 to 6 months of lactation, and levels were stable thereafter. In the 27 mothers who were exclusively breast-feeding their infants at 9 months of lactation and whose serum cholesterol levels were measured 2 months after the end of lactation, cholesterol levels increased rapidly to 5.7 +/- 0.21 mmol/L (P = .001). In the subgroup of 34 mothers who were examined more closely, the course just described was also true for serum TG, LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and LDL apo B levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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