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Acta Diabetol. 2015 Jun;52(3):621-4. doi: 10.1007/s00592-014-0628-5. Epub 2014 Jul 20.

Early infant feeding and risk of developing islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes.

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Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Forschergruppe Diabetes, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Neuherberg, Germany.


We investigated whether food supplementation within the first year life or age at introduction of gluten-containing foods influenced the risk of developing islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. A total of 2,291 children with a family history of type 1 diabetes were prospectively followed from birth for 28,983 patient years (median 13.1 years). Dietary exposure data were collected by questionnaires, food records and by family interview. Exposure to gluten-containing foods before age 3 months, which occurred in 19 children, increased the risk of developing islet autoantibodies (n = 4), multiple islet autoantibodies (n = 4), and type 1 diabetes (n = 3) compared to exclusive breastfeeding within the first 3 months [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 3.97 (95 % confidence interval 1.41-11.17), 5.39 (1.89-15.35), and 3.45 (1.04-11.48), respectively] and also compared to first exposure to gluten between 3.1 and 6.0 months of age [adjusted HR 3.40 (1.19-9.70), 4.25 (1.47-12.26), and 3.43 (1.01-11.66), respectively]. Children who received infant formula or other solid food within the first 3 months and children who received gluten-containing foods after age 6 months did not have an increased risk of islet autoantibodies, multiple islet autoantibodies or type 1 diabetes. Our present data affirm that compliance to infant feeding guidelines is a possible way to reduce type 1 diabetes risk in genetically susceptible children.

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