A new and exciting study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that early probiotic supplementation for children can help them in doing away with the risk of type 1 diabetes. The results of the study are just a preface but they seem to be groundbreaking.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is basically a type of autoimmune disease. It develops when the immune system of the body mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas. The entire procedure leaves the human body with a shortage of insulin for meeting its requirements. The hormone that assists the cells to make use of sugars derived from foods in the form of fuel is called insulin. The main cause of type 1 diabetes is still not clear in terms of whether it is environmental or genetic but gut imbalance is considered one possible cause. It is already known to people that probiotics do have a positive influence on the body’s immune system. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that it might also be advantageous for autoimmunity.
The Research on Developing a Connection between Probiotics and Islet Autoimmunity
An extensive research was conducted on 7000 infants in the United States with a family history of type 1 diabetes. This study was basically conducted for evaluating if there was really any connection between islet autoimmunity and probiotics. Islet autoimmunity can be referred to as antibodies found in the bloodstream. These antibodies can easily be detected and measured prior to type 1 diabetes presenting its symptoms. There were two groups of infants where one group was given probiotic supplements while the other group did not have any supplementation. The study came up with results showing reduces chances of islet autoimmunity in infants who were on probiotics before 27 days of age. However, the ones given probiotics after 27 days of age did not show similar success. The study also concluded that there was a 60% decrease in the chances of developing islet autoimmunity in children with highest genetic risk. The study does not confirm however that the use of probiotics can actually decrease the chances of type 1 diabetes in infants. But, if you have your child genetically prone to contract type 1 diabetes, you can always ask your child specialist to add some probiotics to your child’s formula early in his or her life. The best probiotic for infants would be Bifidobacterium.
Are the Results of the Study Genuine?
There are a number of questions that still remain to be answered when it comes to considering the genuineity of the results concluded from the research. It is quite evident that the supplements used in the research contained the mixtures of different Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species and thus were the results completely dependent on specific species provided? There are many factors on which the stability of a probiotic depends and this goes special with storage conditions. So, were there any adjustments made for such variables? The answers to these questions will surely come but for the time being, it can be agreed that possible intervention using probiotics might be effective in avoiding the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants.