Breastfeeding for three months or more may help prevent diabetes in children, say researchers in Chile. Their study, one of many to reach the same conclusion, focused on how breastfeeding affected the levels of three types of islet-cell antoantibodies in children with type 1 diabetes. Researchers published their findings in the June issue of the Medical Magazine of Chile (Revista Medica de Chile).
F. Perez-Bravo, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Chile in Santiago, measured the levels ICA, GAD and IA2 antibodies in 134 children between the ages of one and 15 years old who had type 1 diabetes. Researchers noted whether the children had been breastfed for three months or less, or for more than three months.
The presence of at least one antibody was slightly lower in those who had been breast fed for over three months. Also, the presence of all three antibodies was less common in those who had been breastfed longer than three months (21.8 percent compared to 53.9 percent in those who were breast fed less than three months).
Researchers therefore state that breast feeding plays “a possible role” in healthy pancreatic activity in people with type 1 diabetes.