Influence of the Microbiome on Type 1 Diabetes in children

The health of a child’s intestinal system may be linked to reducing the risk of type 1 diabetes. A diet containing fewer dairy products and less gluten may be helpful, according to research.

A recent research comparing the gut microbiota in 15 children with type 1 diabetes to 13 without diabetes as well as 15 children with maturity-onset diabetes of the young 2 (MODY2) is exposing important differences.

“Compared with healthy control subjects,” explains the study published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care Journal, “type 1 diabetes was associated with a significantly lesser microbiota variety.”

Higher levels of “proinflammatory” cytokines and lipopolysaccharides were also detected in children with T1D. Inflammation is a major contributor to the onset of this autoimmune disorder. And the development of other diabetes-related problems.


Researchers observed that children with T1D and the group of kids with MODY2 had increased “gut permeability.” This may cause the leaky gut syndrome. It means that foreign particle from the gut can leak into other body parts. It is more common among people who are “more prone to the autoimmune dysfunction,” Smith told.

“Their guts appear to be more permeable,” describes Jennifer Smith, registered dietician and diabetes educator with Integrated Diabetes Services. “If they have any environmental factors — in this case, it would be nutritional — if they consume any inflammatory foods which cause irritation within the gut lining, it permits those things to enter into body after moving out from the digestive system, instead of being moved normally through your digestive system.”

Smith adds that the allergens and irritants from the gut are then in circulation inside the body. An allergen is a kind of antigen which generates an aggressive response from the body’s immune system. It produces a response when it sees an allergen as a danger even if it might be inoffensive to the body. The consistent presence of such irritants and allergens can cause an autoimmune response like type 1 diabetes.

Smith states that similar research has been presented regarding celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. The research is presenting a constant increase in some bacteria and a reduction of other bacteria for individuals with these disorders.

Diet may play a role

A person’s diet also contributes to play an important role in their gut biome, according to research.
“Gluten and dairy have proven in research to be majorly responsible in the onset of type 1 diabetes,” explained Smith. She points to another new research linking high consumption of gluten in a pregnant mother and a child’s risk of ultimately developing type 1 diabetes.

About dairy, Smith clarifies that the A1 protein is present in the United States’ commercial dairy produces. It is recognized to be allergenic with relations in the development of type 1 diabetes. However, “A2 protein,” is recognized to be less allergenic. People drinking A2 milk have rarer cases of developing type 1 diabetes compared to populations consuming A1 milk.

Children with a risk of autoimmune disease due to a family history of autoimmune disorder, Smith says should avoid gluten. They should take probiotic products to improve the issue of a “leaky gut.” That, in turn, could benefit to prevent or delay autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes.

Limitations of the study

Some professionals mention the list of variables complicating the consequences in a research like this.
“It was a small research and was not randomized,” Dr. Stephen Ponder, a pediatric endocrinologist and Diabetes Educator of the Year 2018, told. “I didn’t see any report that the participants were not related, which could lead some partial concerns, too.”

Ponder, co-author of the book “Sugar Surfing,” adds that patients appeared to all live in the same general region. This shows that their water and food supply could also have an influence on their gut bacteria.

“It is interesting to ponder how microbiota differs from area to area, and even within different populations. That indicates that the problem regarding cause versus effect cannot be answered by a small research like this,” he said.

“I hope they cast a broader study next time. And search populations in different regions along with their levels of glycemic control and ages,” he said. “As gut microbiome is continually churning. It must play a part in both defending us and on occasion exposing us to risk.”

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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