Could one of the doctors please let me know what is known about the effects
of breastfeeding on the serum cholesterol levels of the mother? I am
breastfeeding my 8 month old and recently got very high numbers (and
bad HDL/LDL ratio) on a cholesterol test--about 100 points higher than
my results 3 months before pregnancy. This is despite the fact that my
weight is close to what it was, my diet is very similar (and extremely
low in fat and cholesterol--no red meat, no dairy products, lots of
beans and fish and oat bran), and I exercise for 30 minutes 5 or 6 times
a week. Could lactation cause a substantial elevation in total
cholesterol? Or could this be still the residual effect of the elevated
cholesterol levels of pregnancy? I would much appreciate a response, and
also I would very much like references to any relevant studies. Is there
any evidence in the medical literature that women who have more children
and/or breastfeed them for longer periods of time have a higher rate of heart
disease? Thanks very much. (Neither my internist nor my cardiologist knew
the answer to this.)
The only reference I can discover is JAMA (J American Medic Assoc) October 20, 1989, volume 262, page 2092. This letter from a research group supports an answer to a question and answer forum in this journal: choesterol levels decline over time in breast feeding moms. The authors acknowledgethat they have received anecdotal reports of high cholesterol levels during breast feeding.
This is the only literature search or "expert opinion" information I uncovered. If you learn more, let us know.
I am unclear if you also posted this question on the cardiology page: these physicians have a strong interest in lipids and the relationship to heart disease.
Keywords: moms cholesterol, breast feeding
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