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Fatty Acids from Breastfeeding May Help Ward Off Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes usually presents in children and is thought to be genetic. A recent study suggests that fatty acids derived from breastfeeding and from fish may help protect against the development of type 1 diabetes.

Participants in the study included 7,782 children who were predisposed to type 1 diabetes and recruited between 1997 and 2004. The researchers took blood samples from the children at regular intervals up until age 15. They also monitored them for islet autoimmunity, which is an early sign of type 1 diabetes.

After examining the data, the researchers found that higher blood levels of fish-derived fatty acids were linked with a lower risk of early islet autoimmunity. They also found that children who were breastfed as infants had higher serum levels of the fatty acids linked with a lower risk of type 1 diabetes and islet autoimmunity, when compared with non-breastfed infants.

Researchers from the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 4, 2017, in Diabetologia.

The fatty acids found in fish are the omega-3s DHA and EOA. These omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved mood, improved joint mobility, reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is important to make sure they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. Fatty acids can also be obtained by taking a daily high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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