In a Pediatric Allergy and Immunology analysis of children with asthma, those who had been breastfed had a 45 percent lower risk of asthma exacerbations later in life compared with children who had not been breastfed.
Investigators analyzed data from 960 children aged 4 to 12 years who were using regular asthma medication.
"Although in our study breastfeeding was shown to be a protective factor for asthma exacerbations, it is still unclear whether there is a causal relation between breastfeeding and asthma exacerbations; however the relation might be explained by the influence of breastfeeding on the immune system. Changes in the composition and activity of the gut microbiome in early life can influence the immune system and these changes might indirectly lead to changes in asthma later in life," said Dr. Anke Maitland-van der Zee, senior author of the study.
"Further prospective research is warranted to confirm this association and to clarify the underlying mechanisms."
Explore further: Maternal uncontrolled asthma ups risk of asthma in offspring
Fariba Ahmadizar et al. Breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of childhood asthma exacerbations later in life, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (2017). DOI: 10.1111/pai.12760