by: Jonathan Benson
(NaturalNews) New research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine adds to the growing body of evidence showing that breastfeeding is crucial for proper human development. According to the research, babies who are breastfed develop stronger lungs than their non-breastfed counterparts, even when their mothers have existing respiratory conditions like asthma.
It has been previously believed by some that asthmatic mothers pass on the condition to their children through breastfeeding, and that breastfeeding for too long increases a child's risk of developing the condition. But the new study shows this to be false, illustrating, in fact, that breastfeeding appears to significantly reduce a child's risk of developing asthma, as non-breastfed children are far more prone to develop this and other respiratory conditions.
A 2011 study published in the European Respiratory Journal, for instance, found that babies fed formula rather than breast milk are 50 percent more likely to develop chronic wheezing. Even supplementing breast milk with other foods was shown to have a detrimental effect, increasing the risk of chronic wheezing by 20 percent compared to exclusively breastfed babies.
"I think the evidence is that breastfeeding increases lung volume, independent of if the mother is asthmatic or not," said Dr. Wilfried Karmaus, an asthma researcher from the University of South Carolina who was not involved in the study, to Reuters. "If the lung volume is increased, then you are less susceptible to get asthma. It's important even to tell asthmatic mothers to breastfeed their children."
In a similar study published last year, French researchers found that children who are fed formula have a significantly higher risk of developing long-term chronic illness than children who are breastfed. That particular study illustrated that children develop substantially different hormonal and metabolic systems depending on whether they are fed breast milk or synthetic formula