Clin Immunol. 2004 Apr;111(1):108-18

According to German researchers, delaying the introduction of wheat and barley proteins could reduce the incidence of diabetes. The scientists looked at mice on diets that were modified according to protein source, and specifically looked at mice pups from female non-obese diabetic mice. Mice on lifelong wheat-free and barley-free diets (their protein source was poultry) had significantly reduced levels of diabetes (45% by age 32 weeks vs. 88% in control mice), and when they did develop diabetes, its onset was delayed. Interestingly the development of diabetes in these mice was not fully restored after adding wheat and barley proteins to their diets (58%). Further, insulin autoantibodies and insulitis scores were both reduced in the wheat and barley-free mice, and their intra-pancreatic IL-4 mRNA levels were increased. The researchers conclude: "These data support a link between dietary wheat and barley proteins and the development of autoimmune diabetes."

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