Breastfeeding, ovulatory years, and risk of multiple sclerosis
Neurology 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000004207
- Speculation by VitaminDWiki: Breastfeeding > 15 months increases the time between pregnancies, which allows time for the restoration of maternal Vitamin D, which decreases the risk of future MS.
This possibility does not appear to be discussed in the study.
- The study noticed that having previous birth 5-10 years previously resulted in a 3X reduction in the risk of future MS – but this was only a trend (not statistically significant)
Again, a long time to restore vitamin D levels between pregnancies
- The study also noted a 40% increased risk of future MS if menstruation started before age 12.
Note: Low vitamin D has been associated with both early menstruation and MS
Annette Langer-Gould, MD, PhD, Jessica B. Smith, MPH, Kerstin Hellwig, MD, Edlin Gonzales, MA, Samantha Haraszti, MS, Corinna Koebnick, PhD and Anny Xiang, PhD
Correspondence to Dr. Langer-Gould: Annette.M.Langer-Gould at kp.org
Objective: To determine whether women who breastfeed their infants longer or have fewer ovulatory years are at lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods: We recruited women with newly diagnosed MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) (n = 397), and matched controls (n = 433) into the MS Sunshine Study from the membership of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. A structured in-person questionnaire was administered to collect the behavioral (pregnancies, breastfeeding, hormonal contraceptive use) and biological (age at menarche and menopause, amenorrhea) factors to make up ovulatory years.
Results: Among women who had live births, a cumulative duration of breastfeeding for ≥15 months was associated with a reduced risk of MS/CIS (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval CI 0.28–0.77; p = 0.003 compared to 0–4 months of breastfeeding). Being ≥15 years of age at menarche was also associated with a lower risk of MS/CIS (adjusted OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.33–0.96; p = 0.035). Total ovulatory years and the remaining factors that determine it, including gravidity, parity, episodes of amenorrhea, and hormonal contraceptive use, as well as age at first birth, showed no significant association with the risk of MS/CIS.
Conclusions: Mothers who breastfeed longer may be at lower subsequent risk of developing multiple sclerosis. This is consistent with the other known maternal health benefits of breastfeeding and with our previous observation that women with MS who breastfeed exclusively are at lower risk of postpartum relapses.
Received December 2, 2016. Accepted in final form May 18, 2017.