Longer term breast feeding protects mother from risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
Breast feeding for a period of thirteen months or more has been shown to reduce the mother’s the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to new data presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain. In the study, the longer the breast feeding period, the lower the mother’s risk of developing RA in later life. Comparable use of oral contraceptives (OCs) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) did not show a significant effect on the risk of developing RA.
Lead researcher Dr Mitra Keshavarz, of Malmö Hospital University, Sweden, said of the study, “Whilst other studies suggest that hormonal factors play a part in the development of RA, and we know that pregnancy can result in an improvement in RA symptoms, we wanted to investigate the long term effect of breast-feeding. This study specifically highlights the potential of naturally-induced hormones in protecting individuals from developing RA in the future. Furthermore, it adds to the growing body of evidence in favour of breast feeding and its positive health implications – this time demonstrating its protective benefits for the mother.”