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Milk Consumption Is Linked to Type 1 Diabetes

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Type 1 diabetes, which usually strikes youngsters and younger adults, is an autoimmune illness by which our own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of our pancreas. Untreated it’s deadly, but even with well-managed insulin alternative, it might shorten life expectancy by a decade. “Families are devastated when a child receives a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes…Thus, one of modern medicine’s ‘holy grails’” is to perceive what causes the physique to attack itself, within the hopes that we will remedy or forestall the illness. Genetic susceptibility plays an necessary position, however the “concordance for type 1 diabetes is only about 50% among identical twins.” So, even if somebody with our exact same DNA gets the illness, there’s solely a few 50 % probability we’ll get it, too—which means there have to be external elements as properly.

Some nations have low rates of incidence, and others have high charges. Japan, for example, has sort 1 diabetes charges 18 occasions lower than the United States. This disparity isn’t due only to genetics, nevertheless, as a result of, when youngsters migrate, they have a tendency to purchase the danger of their new residence, suggesting it’s acquired one thing to do with the surroundings, food regimen, or way of life. In reality, the incidence charges range more than 350-fold all over the world. Some nations have charges a whole lot of occasions greater than others, and it is on the rise. Researchers looked at 37 populations from all over the world and found that the incidence has been growing about 3 % a yr—our genes don’t change that quick. In reality, they couldn’t find a single inhabitants with reducing incidence of sort 1 diabetes.

Something is occurring that started across the finish of World War II. “The best evidence available suggests that childhood diabetes [also known as type 1 diabetes] showed a stable and relatively low incidence over the first half of the 20th century, followed by a clear increase that began…around…the middle of the century.” Why the rise, though? Quite a lot of elements have been postulated, together with vitamin D deficiency, sure infections, or exposure to cow’s milk.

Decades ago, revealed cross-country comparisons showed a decent correlation between milk consumption and the incidence of  sort 1 diabetes. The “evaluation showed that 94% of the geographic variation in incidence could be defined by variations in milk consumption.” Investigators in Finland, the nation with the very best rates of sort 1 diabetes and cow’s milk consumption, led much of the analysis into this space.

It all started with studies just like the one I function in my video Does Casein in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes?, displaying that the less infants are breastfed, the upper the charges of sort 1 diabetes, leading to the apparent conclusion that “[b]reast-milk protects the newborn infant.” On the opposite hand, if infants are usually not getting breast milk, they’re getting components, which in all probability accommodates cow’s milk proteins. In the first few months of life, our intestine is particularly leaky to proteins. Is it attainable that as our immune system assaults the overseas cow proteins, our pancreas gets caught in the crossfire? This was based mostly on animal experiments, nevertheless. In prone mice, a eating regimen containing the cow’s milk protein, casein, produced diabetes, nevertheless it did not trigger diabetes in rats. So, are we extra like mice or rats?

Researchers drew blood from youngsters with sort 1 diabetes to see if that they had elevated levels of antibodies that attack bovine proteins in contrast to controls. Their discovering? Every single youngster with sort 1 diabetes had elevated anti-bovine protein antibodies circulating in their blood in contrast to a lot decrease ranges in the control subjects. That seems pretty convincing, however what about Iceland? They drink more milk in Iceland than in Finland, but Icelanders have lower than half the sort 1 diabetes. I explore this paradox in my follow-up video Does Bovine Insulin in Milk Trigger Type 1 Diabetes?.


The vast majority of diabetes instances are sort 2, so that’s been my concentration:

I’m happy to have been in a position to tackle sort 1 diabetes. For much more on this illness, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t but, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free videos here and watch my stay shows:




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