Gut Bacteria and Type 1 Diabetes: What You Need to Know

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Arvind Sommi

According to a recent study, children who develop type 1 diabetes may have signs in their gut as early as age 1. Researchers have found differences in gut bacteria that could help identify infants at elevated risk for the condition.

Researchers have discovered a link between gut bacteria and the development of type 1 diabetes. According to a study published in Diabetologia, the gut microbiome may help identify children who have an elevated risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The study analyzed bacteria in stool samples collected at about one year of age from a small group of children who developed type 1 diabetes about 12 years later compared to those who did not develop diabetes. The researchers found significant differences in the gut bacteria of the two groups.

“It seems that the stage is set very early in life for type 1 diabetes,” Eric W. Triplett, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida, told Helio. “Once we learn more, we may be able to make a predictive model based on gut microbiome composition and other factors that would have higher accuracy than the currently available genetic risk scores.”

Triplett said monitoring gut health over time and screening children at birth for genetic risk might be helpful and enable research into dietary or probiotic interventions to improve gut health, which might reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

What did the study find?

The researchers identified 16 participants who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at about 13 years of age and compared them with a control group of 32 participants who did not develop type 1 diabetes.

They found that certain types of bacteria were more common in the gut of babies who later developed diabetes, while other types were more common in those who did not.

However, Triplett noted that it was a small study and that future studies need to include a larger study population. However, the possibility of preventing onset of type 1 diabetes by altering or promoting ‘healthy’ gut bacteria is an appealing idea, but more research is required.

To learn more about the gut microbiome and emerging research on this topic, read our other articles:

What is the Gut Microbiome and How Does it Relate to Diabetes?
Sometimes It Pays to Go With Your Gut
Resetting Your Gut Could Lower Your Glucose Levels

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