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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 13;8(11):e79436. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079436. eCollection 2013.

Breastfeeding and its prospective association with components of the GH-IGF-Axis, insulin resistance and body adiposity measures in young adulthood--insights from linear and quantile regression analysis.

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  • 1Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Department of Nutritional, Food and Consumer Sciences, Fulda, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Breastfeeding may lower chronic disease risk by long-term effects on hormonal status and adiposity, but the relations remain uncertain.

OBJECTIVE:

To prospectively investigate the association of breastfeeding with the growth hormone- (GH) insulin-like growth factor- (IGF) axis, insulin sensitivity, body composition and body fat distribution in younger adulthood (18-37 years).

DESIGN:

Data from 233 (54% female) participants of a German cohort, the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) Study, with prospective data on infant feeding were analyzed. Multivariable linear as well as quantile regression were performed with full breastfeeding (not: ≤ 2, short: 3-17, long: >17 weeks) as exposure and adult IGF-I, IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) -1, -2, -3, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fat mass index, fat-free mass index, and waist circumference as outcomes.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for early life and socio-economic factors, women who had been breastfed longer displayed higher adult IGFBP-2 (p(trend) = 0.02) and lower values of HOMA-IR (p(trend) = 0.004). Furthermore, in women breastfeeding duration was associated with a lower mean fat mass index (p(trend) = 0.01), fat-free mass index (p(trend) = 0.02) and waist circumference (p(trend) = 0.004) in young adulthood. However, there was no relation to IGF-I, IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3 (all p(trend) > 0.05). Associations for IGFBP-2 and fat mass index were more pronounced at higher, for waist circumference at very low or high percentiles of the distribution. In men, there was no consistent relation of breastfeeding with any outcome.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that breastfeeding may have long-term, favorable effects on extremes of adiposity and insulin metabolism in women, but not in men. In both sexes, breastfeeding does not seem to induce programming of the GH-IGF-axis.

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