Lactation promotes the normalization of plasma lipids and lipoproteins after delivery in Taiwanese women

S. L. Yeh, Chun-Sen Hsu

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This study compared plasma lipids and lipoproteins between lactating and nonlactating women at 6 weeks postpartum. In addition, the changes in plasma lipids, lipoproteins and apoproteins were investigated in Taiwanese women during pregnancy. The effect of the traditional Taiwanese diet consumed after delivery on the plasma lipid profile was also discussed. Forty-four healthy pregnant women and 16 nonpregnant control subjects were included in this study. Blood samples of the pregnant women were drawn at the end of each trimester, after delivery, these women had their blood drawn at 6 weeks postpartum. The results revealed that plasma total triglyceride (TG) increased two to three fold during late pregnancy, while total cholesterol only increased by 30% to 40% above control levels. The TG level remained high at 6 weeks postpartum, whereas cholesterol returned to a concentration comparable to the control group. This result indicates that the traditional high cholesterol, high fat diet consumed after delivery does not delay the return of plasma cholesterol level to the control value. Lactating mothers had plasma levels of TG, cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) that were similar to the control group. All parameters except HDL-C in the nonlactating group were significantly higher than the control group. Plasma HDL-C level in the nonlactating group, however, was significantly lower than the control group. HDL-C as well as the HDL-C/LDL-C ratio were significantly higher in women who breast-fed for at least 2 weeks than in the nonlactating group. These findings suggest that lactation promotes the normalization of plasma lipids and lipoproteins after delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalNutritional Sciences Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Lactation
  • Lipid
  • Lipoprotein
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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