Effects of prolonged breastfeeding and colostrum fatty acids on allergic manifestations and infections in infancy
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Volume 42, Issue 6, pages 918–928, June 2012
How to Cite
Cite this as: E. Morales, R. García-Esteban, M. Guxens, S. Guerra, M. Mendez, C. Moltó-Puigmartí, M. C. Lopez-Sabater and J. Sunyer, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2012 (42) 918–928.
- Issue published online: 23 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 28 JAN 2012 10:14AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 12 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 2 JUN 2011
- Spanish Ministry of Health. Grant Number: FIS-PI041436
- Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Grant Numbers: Red INMA G03/176, CB06/02/0041
- Generalitat de Catalunya-CIRIT. Grant Number: 1999SGR 00241
- EU. Grant Number: NEWGENERIS FP6-2003-Food-3-A-016320
- Spanish Ministry of Education and Science
- Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Grant Numbers: AGL2009-09730/ALI, AGL2008-04124/ALI
- long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids;
- lower respiratory tract infections;
In developed countries World Health Organization recommendation of 6 months’ exclusive breastfeeding is under debate.
We assessed the impact of predominant breastfeeding (PBF) duration and colostrum long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) profile on the risk of allergic manifestations (wheezing and atopic eczema) and infections [low respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and gastroenteritis] in infancy.
Information on child feeding practices was obtained from 580 infants of a pregnancy cohort. Presence of infant's health outcomes was documented through questionnaires at 6 and 14 months of age. The LC-PUFAs were measured in colostrum. Adjusted odds ratios (adjOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using multivariable logistic regression models.
In comparison with never breastfeeding, PBF for 4–6 months was associated with lower risk of wheezing (adjOR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.32, 0.89), LRTIs (adjOR = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.31, 0.83) and atopic eczema (adjOR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.32, 1.04) between months 7 and 14 of life. Results of a risk period-specific analysis (restricted to infants at risk for outcome onset after 6 months of age), showed no indication for reverse causation (results were not very different compared with an overall analysis). Predominantly breastfeeding for 4–6 months was associated with lower risk of gastroenteritis during the first 6 months of life (adjOR = 0.34; 95% CI, 0.18, 0.64). Among breastfed infants higher doses of arachidonic acid (AA), docosahexaenoic acid, and total n-3 in were associated with a decreased risk of gastroenteritis, but no association was found for allergic manifestations or LRTI.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance
Promotion of PBF for 4–6 months could reduce the burden of allergic manifestations and infections in infancy. Beneficial effects of breastfeeding on gastroenteritis were explained in part by exposure to higher doses of n-3 and AA received from colostrum. No significant effects from fatty acid dose were found on risk of allergic manifestations or LRTIs.