Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Can the stuff in yogurt lower the risk for Type 1 diabetes? A USF study says maybe

Ulla Uusitalo, an associate professor at USF, led the study.

Ulla Uusitalo, an associate professor at USF, led the study.

Studies have long shown probiotics are good for your gut.

But the live microorganisms may have another health benefit for some infants.

A team of researchers led by University of South Florida associate professor Ulla Uusitalo recently found infants who consumed probiotic formula or dietary supplements within 27 days of birth were less likely to develop islet autoimmunity, a condition that leads to Type 1 diabetes.

The findings, published online Monday by the journal JAMA Pediatrics, were limited to infants with a high genetic risk of developing the disease.

The authors say they weren't able to prove that the use of probiotics caused the decreased risk, and they stressed that further research is needed. Still, their study is generating buzz for being among the first to suggest a newborn's diet could help prevent Type 1 diabetes.

"The association is very strong," Uusitalo said.

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's hubs for diabetes research. The school has a data coordinating center to identify environmental triggers of Type 1 diabetes and has received about $500 million in grant funding over the past 15 years to study the disease.

The research, some of which has been global in scope, fits into the university's larger goal of producing "well-educated, global citizens," said Dr. Ed Funai, the chief operating officer at USF Health.

Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of all diabetes cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is usually diagnosed in children.

People who have Type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin, a hormone that helps the body convert blood sugar into energy. In most cases, it is preceded by a condition known as islet autoimmunity in which the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Uusitalo and her colleagues decided to look at the link between probiotics and islet autoimmunity because probiotics are thought to help boost the immune system, she said.

"We don't know exactly how the interactions between probiotics and the immune system work," she said. "But there is evidence that there is something going on."

What's more, probiotic use has been exploding among adults. The so-called good bacteria can be found in juices, granola bars, yogurt and even ice cream for sale at most grocery stores.

The study, funded by grant money from the National Institutes of Health, used data collected between 2004 to 2010 in the United States, Finland, Germany and Sweden. The final sample included 7,473 children.

The data showed Finnish and German children were much more likely to be exposed to probiotics than American children. It also showed early exposure was associated with a 60 percent decrease in the risk of autoimmunity among kids at risk of developing Type 1 diabetes.

Uusitalo cautioned against reading too much into the results.

"Only one study has shown this association, so we need more research," she said.

Her team plans to continue investigating.

"We look forward to seeing what we find," she said.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

.Fast facts

Probiotics

What is the so-called good bacteria?

• Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts with health benefits.

• They can help protect against "bad" bacteria in the stomach, aiding in digestion and reducing inflammation, and are believed to support the immune system.

• Probiotics can be found in some yogurts, milks, soft cheeses, juices, vegetables and granola bars. They also can be found in dietary supplements.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Can the stuff in yogurt lower the risk for Type 1 diabetes? A USF study says maybe 11/09/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2015 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  3. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  4. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494
  5. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 139, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]