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breast feeding and maternal serum cholesterol

  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.)
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Avatar universal

Dear Suzanne:
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
This information is provided for education pruposes and is not a medical consultaion. If you have specific questions, please speak with your physician.

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