According to a Californian study, healthy mothers who breastfeed their children for more than 15 months were less likely to suffer from multiple sclerosis than others who did not breastfeed (1). The study complements research findings of mothers who have already been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, showing that the disease does not deteriorate during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and that there are fewer exacerbations during this period. Only shortly before menstruation starts again after childbirth, it becomes much more likely that the health condition of the mothers worsens again.
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and the spinal cord, usually beginning in the early adult age or even earlier. Women are more often affected than men. Globally, more than 2.5 million people are suffering from multiple sclerosis, with an increasing tendency also in countries around the equator that were previously barely affected. Research is now increasingly focusing on nutritional and environmental influences on the development of multiple sclerosis (2).
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- A Langer-Gould et al. Breastfeeding, ovulatory years, and risk of multiple sclerosis. Neurology. Published online before print July 12, 2017. http://www.neurology.org/content/89/6/563
- In addition to breastfeeding, research focus is on the active ingredient of an African violet species, Oldenlandia affinis, in African strains called “kalata-kalata”. Among other things this medicinal tea is used for the initiation of birth among African tribes. Cf. K Tell et al. Oral activity of a nature-derived cyclic peptide for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. PNAS. 2016. Vol. 113 no. 15, 3960-3965. Doi:10.1073/pnas.1519960113, Available via: http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2016/03/22/1519960113.DCSupplemental