Clinical research
Increased bone mineral density is associated with breastfeeding history in premenopausal Spanish women
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Submission date: 2012-04-30
Final revision date: 2012-11-26
Acceptance date: 2012-11-29
Online publication date: 2013-08-08
Publication date: 2013-08-31
Arch Med Sci 2013;9(4):703-708
Introduction: During lactation abundant calcium is lost from the mother as a result of the amount of breast milk produced. Lactation leads to transient fragility, with some women experiencing even fragility fractures, but nearly all of these women subsequently undergo a large increase in bone mineral density (BMD), confirming that the BMD must have declined during lactation but it increases after weaning. We have retrospectively examined the relationship between the duration of breastfeeding and bone properties in Spanish premenopausal healthy women, to identify the site-specific changes in BMD.
Material and methods: Four hundred and thirty-three premenopausal healthy women, 295 with a mean of 7.82 ±6.68 months of exclusive breastfeeding and 138 control women, were studied. We examined total, trabecular and cortical volumetric BMD (mg/mm3) at the distal radius using peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Areal BMD (g/cm2) was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, trochanter and Ward’s triangle. Phalangeal bone ultrasound was measured by amplitude-dependent speed of sound.
Results: Areal BMD analysis at L2–L4 revealed significant intergroup differences (p < 0.05). There were significant intergroup differences in the volumetric BMD in both total and cortical bone (p < 0.05). The observed BMD of breast-feeders was higher than the BMD in non-breast-feeding women. Additionally, the lactation subgroup analysis revealed significant differences in the areal BMD at trochanter and L2–L4 (p < 0.05) and in the cortical volumetric BMD (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study adds to the growing evidence that breastfeeding has no deleterious effects and may confer an additional advantage for BMD in premenopausal women.
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