Possible Reason for Type 1 Diabetes found – and here is how to prevent it

A study conducted in Sweden by Jeanette Wahlberg, Outi Vaarala and Johnny Ludvigsson, published in the British Journal of Nutrition 2006, concludes that breast feeding your baby less than 3 months can increase the risk for your child to get type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease. While it is known that type 1 diabetes is a multifactorial disease and can also be inherited through genetics this study opens up a new aspect. In this study dietary risk factors in children were studied in relation to autoantibodies (GADA and IA-2A). In this 3 year long study a total of 17055 newborns were observed, and information were obtained at the time of birth, at 1 year of age and and at 2½ years of age. Blood samples, urine, stool and hair were obtained from the children and analyzed. A questionnaire was also given to the parents in order to obtain information about the duration of breast feeding and introduction to diets containing gluten and milk.



As mentioned before type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system destroys it’s own β-cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is vital for all body cells to allow glucose to enter the cells. Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, autoantibodies such as GADA and IA-2A can be found in the blood. In symptomatic adults these antibodies confirm the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, whereas in infants they serve as an indicator for an increased risk level to develop type 1 diabetes mellitus.

[1]

The results from this study show that children who were breast-fed less than 3 months had an increased risk to develop autoimmunity. Both GADA and IA-2A levels were elevated in these children, pointing to an increased risk of having type 1 diabetes later on. The study also states that “an early introduction of cows milk formula (before 2 months of age) correlated to an increased risk of β-cell autoantibodies [in high risk individuals]”. In this study children who stayed positive for GADA and/or IA-2A at the 1 year and 2½ year follow up examination were considered high risk individuals. In many european countries the first foreign source of proteins are milk supplements. This makes it very interesting if you consider the high use of milk supplements in western countries. In this study a too early introduction of cow milk consumption could be linked to the development of type 1 diabetes. The same applied to a too early and abrupt introduction of gluten based food (porridge) to the infant.
The study concludes that a too early introduction of foreign proteins “is somehow harmful and predisposes [type 1 diabetes]“. A possible explanation is that because infants have not yet a fully developed gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). [2] This is so vital because the gut immune system makes up about 70% of the human immune system.

The conclusion I draw from this study is to breast feed as long as possible. If you want to give your child a good start into life I encourage everyone to consider this.

 

References:
1. www.pathlabs.ufl.edu/tests/pediatric-islet-autoantibody-panel
2. www.klaire.com/images/InfantGIMicroflora.pdf

 

Author: Alex Rasch
Published: 25 December 2014
Filed as: Article, Blog

 

By | 2016-10-30T09:08:32+00:00 January 25th, 2015|Categories: Article, Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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