Mothers who breastfeed their children run a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease later in life, a new study suggests.
The report, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggests that breastfeeding for longer periods may also help reduce the risk.
The small-scale study, intended as a pilot, gathered data from 81 British women with, and without, Alzheimer’s between the ages of 70 and 100.
Despite the small sample, researchers claim that the correlation found between breastfeeding and Alzheimer’s is “highly significant.”
Breastfeeding is known to restore insulin tolerance and researchers suggest this may be a contributing factor, as Alzheimer’s is characterized by insulin resistance in the brain.
The link was found to be much less pronounced for women who had a parent or sibling with dementia and in these cases breastfeeding had a lower impact.
Researchers hope these initial findings will stimulate further research in the area.