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A recent study suggests that new mothers can improve the health benefits of their breast milk by breastfeeding after exercising, potentially providing a “supercharged” effect.

Exercise increases diabetes preventing hormone in breast milk

A study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reveals that vigorous exercise increases a hormone in breast milk that guards babies against diabetes and regulates their metabolism. Prior to this research, uncertainty existed among mothers regarding the effects of exercise on breast milk quality, with some fearing negative impacts such as milk souring due to physical activity.

Trine Moholdt, a researcher at NTNU, said that there are numerous misconceptions surrounding the relationship between exercise and breast milk. He emphasized the necessity for further understanding as their research endeavors primarily focused on discerning whether it’s possible to mitigate childhood obesity.

The research team gathered 240 breast milk samples from 20 recently delivered mothers both before and following two exercise sessions, contrasting them with samples collected during comparable intervals after periods of inactive behavior.

Following vigorous high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the mothers demonstrated elevated levels of the hormone adiponectin in their breast milk. Adiponectin is pivotal in overseeing the body’s metabolic processes, guaranteeing the provision of energy and vital nutrients for bodily functions. Breastfeeding infants absorb this hormone via their intestines, impacting their metabolic functions. Reduced adiponectin levels correlate with insulin resistance and the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Breastfeeding for six months reduces risk of obesity

According to Moholdt, the timeframe spanning from conception to the age of two is widely recognized as the pivotal period for potential obesity development in later life. The hormone is released from adipose tissue, circulating into the bloodstream, with a significant portion transferring into breast milk. While the results weren’t particularly surprising, they now offer definitive confirmation.

The study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that moderate exercise doesn’t impact a specific hormone similarly. Research suggests early-life nutrition influences future health, potentially contributing to childhood obesity. The World Health Organization advocates breastfeeding for six months to reduce obesity risk compared to formula feeding.