DHEA is the Reason Breast Milk is Beneficial


Copyright 2013, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.


(New:  At the bottom of this post, I have placed my explanation of how breastfeeding may help against ADHD.)



It is my hypothesis that evolution selected dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) because it optimizes replication and transcription of DNA.  Therefore DHEA levels affect all tissues and life span.  DHEA naturally begins to decline around the ages of twenty to twenty-five, reaching very low levels in old age.  DHEA is important.


This explanation of the connection of the benefits of breast milk will be based in the immune system.  Simply note that increases in stimulation of DHEA in an infant will benefit all systems and tissues.


It is also my hypothesis that testosterone is increasing within the population. I think this is the cause of the “Secular Trend,” the increase in size and earlier puberty in children. The changes in testosterone affect availability of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). One of the consequences of increasing testosterone is reduced immune response as high testosterone may reduce the availability of DHEA and, therefore, its natural stimulus of the immune system.


I think this is why antibiotic-resistant organisms are increasing within the population. When DHEA is present in optimal amounts, the immune system mounts a sufficient response in individuals with optimal DHEA. As DHEA declines within the population, antibiotic-resistant organisms increase.


It is my hypothesis that cortisol (stress) evolved to counteract the positive effects of DHEA on neuronal function.  That is, cortisol reduces initial motivation produced by DHEA to continue during “fight or flight” circumstances. An increased cortisol to DHEA ratio also reduces the effects of DHEA in tissues other than the brain.


Cortisol in excess for prolonged times reduces the immune response.


Alpha-lactalbumin has been demonstrated to increase prolactin and decrease cortisol (Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1536-44). Prolactin is a specific and direct stimulator of DHEA production. Therefore, alpha-lactalbumin increases DHEA and reduces cortisol.


I suggest the benefits of breast milk regarding immune protection provided by the mother may also be explained by increases in available DHEA and reduction in cortisol which increases the natural ability of the immune response to antibiotic-resistant organisms."


ADHD and Breastfeeding


“I invite you to read my explanation of DHEA and breastmilk: ‘DHEA is the Reason Breast Milk is Beneficial,’ at: http://anthropogeny.com/DHEA%20Breast%20Milk.htm .


Breast milk, according to my interpretation, above, increases DHEA.  It is known that higher levels of DHEA "were associated with fewer ADHD symptoms" (Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2001 Sep;4(3):259-64).


I suggest the benefits of breastfeeding on ADHD may be due to increased DHEA.”