According tomedia reports, breast milk is known to provide beneficial compounds to help newborns thrive, and it may help protect them from various conditions later in life. Now a new study has found that the amount of these beneficial compounds depends in part on how active the breastfeeding mother is. Exercise can increase the number of beneficial protective compounds in breast milk, which can help promote the lifelong health of infants, the study found.
Past studies have linked healthy mothers to healthy offspring; breast milk provides health benefits that babies don’t get out of formula. A new study from Ohio State University’s Waxner Medical Center explores the potential link between the two and found that exercise has a direct impact on breast milk composition.
The key to the findings is that the health benefits of healthy mothers’ experiences for offspring are not genetic but based on the breast milk they receive. The researchers came to this conclusion by feeding newborn cubs of inactive lab mice. The study found that cubs who ate breast milk from active mothers were healthier than those without the mother’s breast milk.
But the study wasn’t limited to mice, and the researchers used trackers to collect data on the activities of about 150 pregnant and postnatal women. The study found that mothers who walked the most each day had more 3SL in their breast milk — a compound associated with protective health benefits. But that doesn’t mean the increased amount of compounds is the result of a specific intensity exercise — even moderate exercise, such as a certain minimum number of steps per day, may eventually make the child healthier.
Health benefits of the compound are known to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in later life.