Hydrolyzed Formula May Prevent Baby’s from Developing Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means the body's immune system turns against healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, therefore the individual is not able to produce insulin. Five immune system autoantibodies have been linked to type 1 diabetes. Having just one of these antibodies does not mean a person will develop type 1 diabetes, but it does increase the risk for the disease. People who have two or more type 1 antibodies have between a 50 and 100 percent risk of developing type 1 diabetes, according to information from a previous study.

Breastfeeding may Prevent Diabetes

Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding may offer some protection against the development of the antibodies that cause diabetes. Most likely because breastfeeding delays the use of infant formula. Formula may somehow trigger the development of autoantibodies as these proteins are broken down for digestion. Clinical studies are still being done to determine if that theory is correct.

Recent Study of Special Infant Formula

A recent study randomly “assigned 230 babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes to receive either a regular infant formula, or one that was extensively hydrolyzed which means the proteins in the formula are already partially broken down and more readily available for digestion -- they found that the extensively hydrolyzed formula cut the rate of developing diabetes-linked antibodies in the blood by about half.” Said Dr. Michael Knip, a professor of pediatrics at the Hospital for Children and Adolescents in Helsinki, Finland.

Study Results

The 230 babies were then followed for a period of eight to ten years they found that the extensively hydrolyzed infant formula reduced the risk of having one diabetes autoantibody by 49 percent, and the risk of having two or more autoantibodies by 53 percent. Baby’s born with a hereditary risk for developing diabetes could benefit greatly by this special infant formula.

Source: Michael Knip, M.D., Ph.D Nov. 11, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine

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