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Cows milk and diabetes

New study bolsters link between cows milk and childhood diabetes

A paper, presented at that 59th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, showed a direct link between cow’s milk and childhood diabetes. The Finnish researchers tracked 178 newborns in Finland until they were 8 years of age. All 179 newborns were in families that had a high genetic dispositions for childhood diabetes. The Researchers then divided the babies into two groups. One group was fed a formula based on cows milk where the second group got the same formula with the proteins chopped up. By chopping up the proteins they rendered them inactive. This made the formulas look and taste the same which created a "blind" formula so that no one knew who had the active cows milk or who had the inactive cows milk.

It is known from previous research that a protein in cow’s milk, bovine insulin, may set off an immune reaction with the islet cells in the pancreas. The islet cells in the pancreas regulate the production of human insulin, which controls sugar levels in the blood. When the islet cells are attacked they create an autoimmune antibody that shows that the islet cells are under attack.

By 2 years of age 10 of the 89 children getting active cows milk formula were found to have antibodies associated with childhood diabetes where only 3 of the inactive formula group had the same antibodies. It is believed that if there is just one of these antibodies present damage has already occurred to the pancreas. So if the antibody is present the child has a 4 in 10 chance of contracting childhood diabetes and showing signs of more antibodies is a sign of greater risk. Having three antibodies imparts an 80 to 90 percent likelihood of getting childhood diabetes.


Even before this study the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS, in 1994; recommend that children below the age of 1 year not be given cow’s milk. There are studies as old as the late 1930s that show cows milk may pose a risk of childhood diabetes but it has been largely ignored by pediatricians and the government. The argument has always been that the evidence is not conclusive.

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