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Age at First Exposure to Cereal Linked to Risk of Diabetes

Thursday, October 2nd 2003

The timing of initial exposure to cereal during infancy may affect the risk of developing type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)-associated autoantibodies, according to two prospective studies published in the October 1st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ensuring that parents comply with infant feeding guidelines that suggest waiting until after the age of 3 months to introduce solid foods could perhaps reduce the prevalence of pancreatic islet autoantibodies, both research teams suggest.

For the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY), Dr. Jill M. Norris, at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and colleagues enrolled 1183 children at increased risk for type 1 diabetes, either because of HLA genotype or having a first-degree relative with type 1 DM.

Thirty-four newborns tested positive for autoantibody against at least one of three pancreatic islet antigens (insulin, glutamic acid decarboxylase or IA-2) over an average 4-year period. The investigators estimated risk after adjusting for HLA genotype, family history, ethnicity and maternal age.

The hazard ratio for developing autoantibodies was 4.3 for those initially exposed to cereals between ages 0 and 3 months or after 7 months compared with those exposed during months 4 through 6. There appears to be "a window of exposure to cereals outside which an increase of IA risk exists in susceptible children," Dr. Norris and colleagues suggest.

Dr. Anette-G. Ziegler of the Diabetes Research Institute in Munich, Germany, and colleagues enrolled 1610 newborns that had a parent with type 1 DM in the BABYDIAB trial. Eighty-five children developed islet autoantibodies by 5 years of age.

The adjusted hazard ratio for islet autoantibodies was 5.2 (p = 0.003) for infants receiving gluten-containing foods prior to age 3 months compared with those not fed gluten until age 3 to 6 months.

"Early introduction of gluten-containing foods should be avoided in children who are genetically predisposed to type 1 DM," Dr. Ziegler's group maintains.

In neither study was there an association between islet autoantibody risk and breastfeeding or exposure to cow's milk.

In an accompanying editorial, Drs. Mark Atkinson and Edwin A. M. Gale urge "cautious interest" in these findings. They especially caution that the evidence not be misinterpreted as "infant cereal causes diabetes."

Dr. Atkinson, at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and Dr. Gale, at the University of Bristol, England, note that the most critical outcome is the development of diabetes. Therefore, "current infant feeding guidelines should not be changed."

Source: Journal of American Medical Association 2003;290:1713-1720,1721-1728,1771-1772

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following supplements are all useful for diabetics. Use the links for more information.

Bitter Melon
Blood Sugar
Chromium Sugar Balance
Clean Lean Protein
Chromium Picolinate 200mcg
Gymnema Sylvestra
High Dose Chromium
L-Arginine 500 mg
Prevent, Treat & Reverse Diabetes Book
Stevia Liquid
Stevia Sweet Recipes
Stevia Tablets

Related health information can be found here:

Immune System
Looking for a sugar alternative? Try Stevia
Protein - a macronutrient so often overlooked

Related articles can be found here:

Age at First Exposure to Cereal Linked to Risk of Diabetes
Aspartame - a Bitter Sweet Substitute
High-Protein Diet Helpful in Type 2 Diabetes
Moderate Drinking May Cut Women's Risk of Diabetes
NZ Riding 'Tsunami of Diabetes'
Physical Activity Can Reduce CVD Risk in Diabetic Men
Suboptimal Glycemic Control Ups The Risk of Having A Stillbirth in Diabetic Women
World Seen Facing Diabetes Catastrophe, Impact May Outpace AIDS

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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