Spilled Milk

Baby Formula Does Not Lead to Diabetes-Associated Autoantibodies

A world-wide research team including renowned medical nutrition researchers and Anita Nucci, assistant professor of nutrition, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) the results of a study which examines possible reduction in autoantibodies associated with type 1 diabetes. The researchers, who tracked children genetically predisposed to type 1 diabetes for seven years, found no correlation between the consumption of a cow’s milk-based formula or hydrolyzed protein formula and the development of diabetes-associated autoantibodies in children younger than seven.

The TRIGR study was conducted in 78 centers in 15 countries, including the U.S and Canada, and will continue to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to collect data up to the children’s 10th birthday. A pilot study in Finland with a smaller, homogeneous population showed that weaning infants to an extensively hydrolyzed casein formula decreased the cumulative occurrence of diabetes-associated autoantibodies in children who have a first-degree relative with type 1 diabetes and an increased genetic risk.

Nucci is the U.S. coordinator and the North America nutrition coordinator for TRIGR. She notes that while there is no correlation between cow’s milk protein and the autoantibodies that result in type 1 diabetes, the second end-point of the TRIGR study is the development of type 1 diabetes by 10 years of age.

”The NIH’s continued support validates the possibility the connection with cow’s milk protein and type 1 diabetes may appear a little later in the lives of children who live outside Finland or that hydrolyzed formula affects the rate of progression of autoimmunity to clinical diabetes in high-risk children,” she says.

Some genetic subgroups may carry a higher risk for diabetes and cow’s milk proteins. Scandinavia is the region with the highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world.

For more information on the study and the link to the JAMA article on the study may be found here.