Malpractice News

July 11, 2013

Low breast milk supply linked to insulin production

Many mothers plan on breastfeeding their children due to breast milk’s nutritious qualities, its ease of access, and the fact that it’s free. For some of these mothers, however, breastfeeding doesn’t work out because for some reason or another, they’re not able to produce the supply their growing baby needs. Scientists have speculated on the reasons for this lack in the past, and a new study might shed new light on this common problem, in addition to suggesting a way for solving it.

Breast milk production mapped

The study found that “insulin plays an important role in making breast milk” because “milk-producing glands become highly sensitive to insulin during lactation and . . . specific genes in the glands are switched on during lactation.” Researchers were able to use RNA sequencing technology to map out exactly how breast milk is produced.

20 percent of women may have this problem

In the past, doctors have found that certain demographics, including overweight and older women, have a harder time producing sufficient milk. This was the first clue that insulin might be a factor in this ongoing problem. Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, one of the study’s authors, said, “Considering that 20 percent of women between 20 and 44 are prediabetic, it’s conceivable that up to 20 percent of new mothers in the United States are at risk for low milk supply due to insulin dysregulation.”

Take preventive measures

Knowing this will allow scientists to see if treating low milk supply with drugs used to control blood sugar will work. However, they say that the best way to improve your supply is by taking a preventive course of action: consuming an adequate diet and partaking in regular exercise.


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