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Originally published September 16 2014

Breastfed vs. bottle-fed babies produce long-lasting differences in immunity and gut flora, scientists find

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) As outrageous as it may seem to those of us who are trying to be natural purists in an unnatural, artificial and synthetic chemical world, the increase in breastfeeding has created a dichotomy of breast milk advocates vs. formula bottle feeders who are too busy to breastfeed because they're career feminists who think that their husbands should share early childhood feeding duties with a bottle. [1]

Of course, there are reasons to not breastfeed, especially among unhealthy women who may be hard-drug addicts or alcoholics. Their "first food" may be too weak to pass on immune-boosting material, or their breast milk's toxicity may be enough for the children to inherit the mothers' weaknesses.

Even women who consume commercial produce have been observed to have pesticides and herbicides in their breast milk.

Nevertheless, there is a consensus that feeding a baby nothing but breast milk for at least six months, then adding some other foods while continuing with breastfeeding until at least 12 months of age has positive long-term health benefits. This consensus is confirmed by several international epidemiological survey studies. [2] [2a]

An example of a counter study was presented in early 2014 called "Is breast truly best? Estimating the
effects of breastfeeding on long-term child health and wellbeing in the
United States using sibling comparisons." However, this study had it's own flaws. For example, while they compared 1,773 siblings where at least one was breastfed and at least one was not, the markers for health that were used may have been limited. And the length of breastfeeding averaged under six months without clearly defining whether even that time period was exclusively breastfeeding or not. [3]

Epidemiological studies can be countered with other epidemiological studies or dissected and questioned to implant doubts and raise counter arguments that may in fact be inaccurate or totally false. Perhaps an animal study would place more weight on the validity of breastfeeding for better childhood health.

The UC Davis rhesus monkey study

The University of California, Davis, and UC San Francisco study entitled "Breast-fed and bottle-fed infant rhesus macaques develop distinct gut microbiotas and immune systems" was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine September 3, 2014.

The researchers used six monkeys that were breastfed and six that were nursery bottle formula-fed for six months, approximating their normal weening times. After the six months, both sets of six monkeys were put on identical diets. The microbiota in breastfed macaques was more diverse than in the bottle-fed group.

This study found that breast-fed infant monkeys had a higher gut microbiota diversity and richness than their formula-fed counterparts. But examining their immune systems during their regular diet periods after six months surprised the researchers.

By 12 months, the two groups showed significant immunity contrasts, with the differences centered on T cell development. The breastfed group had a much larger percentage of experienced memory T cells, which are better-equipped to secrete immune defense chemicals called cytokines.

The study's lead author, Amir Ardeshir, proudly announced, "This is the first time researchers have shown that these immunologic characteristics may be imprinted in the first new months of life. Our study suggests that the gut microbiota present in early life may leave a durable imprint on the shape and capacity of the immune system, a programming of the system if you will." [5]

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride weighs in

Dr. McBride cured her son's autism through diet. From the knowledge of that experience, she successfully treated other children in her London practice with autism spectrum disorders and food allergies resulting from imbalanced gut microbiota.

Her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) has become a bible for families to overcome allergies and nervous disorders through diet. [6]

Dr. McBride has publicly asserted the importance of healthy mothers breastfeeding their children while noting that mothers who were not breastfed themselves were less likely to impart as strong of an immune system as those who were breastfed by their mothers. [7]

During these toxic times, women need to protect their and their children's health to ensure maximum immunity by breastfeeding their newborns.

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