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Babies who leave the breast earlier could be more prone to Type 1 diabetes

New research suggests that children that are weaned from breast milk after just six months are much more likely to suffer from Type 1 diabetes compared to children that are allowed to breastfeed for a year. Interestingly enough, exposure to solids at the wrong time either before or after six months has also been linked to an increase in Type 1 diabetes.

New research has found that weaning a baby before it is four months old actually increases their risk of developing diabetes by almost double, whereas weaning after six months almost triples the risk of developing diabetes.

The findings, if determined to be accurate, will have major implications on the current NHS guidelines that suggest that mothers should start weaning their children at about six months of age. The findings were announced by a group of US scientists that found that weaning is related to the autoimmune disease. According to scientists children should start to eat solid food sometime between four to five months of age in a ‘safe window.’

Most children that suffer from Type 1 Diabetes do so during their childhood or teens and then must administer insulin to themselves daily for the rest of their life. About 300,000 people are affected by Type 1 diabetes which occurs when the body’s own natural defence system attacks pancreas cells that should be producing insulin.

The study also revealed that early exposure to fruit along with late exposure to oats or rice can also increase the risk of children developing Type 1 diabetes by about 2%-3%. However, breastfeeding at the same time as introducing children to any of these foods seemed to lower the risk suggesting that breastfed child have more immune system support while being introduced to new solid foods.

 

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