Probiotic exposure during the first 27 days of an infant’s life may be associated with reduced risk of islet autoimmunity among children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes, although further studies are needed before any recommendations for probiotics can be made, according to a University of South Florida-led study published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Ulla Uusitalo, PhD, of the University of South Florida, and coauthors examined the association between supplemental probiotic use during the first year of life and islet autoimmunity. Islet autoimmunity occurs when antibodies attacks islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The condition, which precedes the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, can be detected by measuring these islet autoantibodies in the blood. “We have taken a baby step forward, and there is the possibility that in the future we may find preventive measures for Type 1 diabetes using probiotics, among children at high risk,” said Dr. Uusitalo, associate professor of pediatrics at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.
An association does not imply causality and further research needs to be done, the authors note.