Type 1 diabetes in a child is a heartbreaking scenario. While children readily adapt, it’s not fair that any child should need to be tied that closely to any type of consistent medical intervention.
On the plus side, I think we’re getting closer to an answer for those who have already been diagnosed. I’ve addressed my thoughts on this in a prior blog post that can be read by clicking here. In addition, careful attention to lifestyle choices that are helpful for Type 2 diabetics will also help those with Type 1 diabetes.
But there is also a wealth of information about what contributes to the development of Type 1 diabetes. Sadly, due to our society’s lack of attention to preventing chronic diseases, these insights seem to be relegated to a secret society. These contributing factors include:
- Dairy formula intake
- Low vitamin D levels
Now, thanks to this particular study, the list is just a little longer.
Researchers looked at the contribution of different bacteria species in the guts of children with Type 1 diabetes and how this differed in the children who had evidence of autoimmunity to the beta cells of the pancreas (the cells that produce insulin in our body).
Here’s what they found:
- Low levels of lactate-producing and butyrate-producing species was associated with the beta cell autoimmunity.
- Specifically, there were low levels of the two most dominant Bifidobacterium species, B. adolescentis and B. pseudocatenulatum.
- In addition, these children had higher levels of the Bacteroides family of bacteria.
So what does this mean?
It boils back down to what I have written time and time again. The destruction of the normal flora in the gut of infants, toddlers and children may be the worst thing that could potentially happen to the development of his or her immune system.
Because of this, C-section births, lack of breastfeeding (or antibiotic use in a mom who is nursing) and antibiotic use can very well be added to the list of factors that contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes in our children.
Recently, for the very first time today in my 15 years of practice, I had a patient mention that his granddaughters’ (yes–twins!) pediatrician had actually recommended that giving probiotics to the infants was a good thing. And, while the probiotic dose recommended was far too low, but it’s a start.
Maybe there is hope for medicine after all…