A recent study has claimed that newborns who are breastfed for at least a period of six months at the initial stage of their lives have low risks of developing liver diseases during adolescence.
The results of the study proved that pre-pregnancy BMI within the normal range was shown to reduce the possibility of adolescent non-alcoholic fatty liver illness (NAFLD) by almost half. Besides, at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding can further bring down the risk by a third.
Oyekoya Ayonrinde, the lead researcher and clinical senior lecturer at Western Australia University, said that they wanted to observe if there was any connection between adolescent non-alcoholic fatty liver illness, maternal reasons and infant nutrition.
In the long run, NAFLD can result in scarring (fibrosis) of the liver and a possibly life-threatening condition known as cirrhosis in a few people. “Our results demonstrate the grave impact maternal factors can have on the risk of developing the liver disease in adolescence,” Ayonrinde added.
These findings suggest that it has become the most common liver illness amongst people aged 2-19-year-old, with half of overweight kids suffering from the disease. Excessive weight gain in childhood is held majorly responsible for this increase.
The research demonstrates the significance of proper infant nutrition and the advantages of exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding for six months, the researchers recommended.
The team gathered data such as maternal pregnancy, birth, childhood and adolescent traits with the help of direct interviews, questionnaires, blood tests as well as physical examinations.
The team organized liver ultrasounds for 17-year-olds to diagnose NAFLD. The outcomes showed that more than 15% of teenagers, out of the study cohort, were diagnosed as suffering from NAFLD.
People, who were exclusively breastfed when they were newly born for six months or an extended period, displayed reduced prevalence of adolescent NAFLD when compared to those who were breastfed for not even six months.
The research findings were presented at The International Liver Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.