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Study Says Cows Milk & Childhood Diabetes Linked

Thursday, 30 October 2008 13:39

A Finnish study suggests that certain children may be vulnerable to diabetes later in life after exposure to cow's milk while very young. The study suggested that children exposed to the insulin naturally be contained in cow's milk may develop antibodies to insulin. The study looked at infants who had been either given cow's milk since birth, or given a combination of breast feeding and non cow's milk formula. At 3 months old, those given cow's milk had immune systems which reacted far more strongly to cow insulin. The levels of immune system antibodies to human insulin and cow  insulin tended to be higher in the group of infants fed only cow's milk.


The researchers wrote: "It is possible that in some genetically susceptible children, a continuous, even small-dose early exposure to bovine insulin in cow's milk may lead to loss of tolerance to insulin."

Paronen J, Knip M, Savilahti E, Virtanen SM, Ilonen J, Akerblom HK, Vaarala O. Effect of cow's milk exposure and maternal type 1 diabetes on cellular and humoral immunization to dietary insulin in infants at genetic risk for type 1 diabetes. Finnish trial to reduce IDDM in the genetically at risk study group.  Diabetes. 2000;49(10):1657-65