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    Avoiding Cow Milk-based Formula Does Not Help At-risk Infants Dodge Celiac Disease

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Can avoiding cow milk-based infant formulas helpd kids avoid celiac disease later in life?


    Celiac.com 08/03/2017 - Some evidence indicates that feeding in the first months of life might have an impact on the risk of later celiac disease.

    Numerous patients with celiac disease or type 1 diabetes show high levels of antibodies against cow milk proteins. For infants with genetic susceptibility for type 1 diabetes, avoiding of cow’s milk-based formula can lower the levels of diabetes-associated autoantibodies.



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    Could the same be true for celiac disease? To find out if weaning to an extensively hydrolyzed formula lowered the risk of celiac disease of celiac disease autoimmunity, a research team performed a randomized controlled trial.

    The research team included Mila Hyytinen, Erkki Savilahti, Suvi M. Virtanen, Taina Härkönen, Jorma Ilonen, Kristiina Luopajärvi, Raivo Uibo, Outi Vaarala, Hans K. Åkerblom, and Mikael Knip for the Finnish TRIGR Pilot Study Group.

    For their double-blind controlled trial, they enrolled 230 infants with HLA-defined predisposition to type 1 diabetes and at least 1 family member with type 1 diabetes. The infants were randomly assigned to groups, with 113 fed a casein hydrolysate formula, and 117 receiving a conventional formula whenever breastmilk was not available during the first 6–8 months of life.

    The team collected serum samples over an average of 10 years, and screened for antibodies to tissue transglutaminase (anti-TG2A) using a radiobinding assay, to endomysium using an immunofluorescence assay, and antibodies to a deamidated gliadine peptide using an immunofluorometry assay.

    In patients with anti-TG2A levels over 20 relative units, the team conducted duodenal biopsy. They measured cow’s milk antibodies during the first 2 years of life. Their results showed that about 13% of the 189 participants they analyzed for antiTG2A 25 tested positive. Just ten of the 230 study participants were diagnosed with celiac disease.

    The team found no significant differences in total cases of anti-TG2A positivity (hazard ratio, 1.14; 95 % CI, 0.51–2.54) or celiac disease (hazard ratio, 4.13; 95% CI, 0.81–21.02) between the casein hydrolysate and cow's milk group.

    Interestingly, children who developed celiac disease did show higher levels of cow's milk antibodies before the appearance of anti-TG2A or celiac disease.

    This study of infants with genetic risk factors for celiac disease showed evidence that weaning to a diet of extensively hydrolyzed formula compared with cow’s milk-based formula would lower the risk for celiac disease later in life.

    Elevated levels of cow's milk antibody before anti-TG2A and celiac disease indicates that many people may experience increased intestinal permeability before they develop celiac disease.

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    This study was done for fraudulent reasons, and obviously paid for by dairy farmers. They are comparing milk to milk, but people are too stupid to notice it. Casein is milk. Even if they compared to something like goat's milk, it would have limited value as they are both animal milk. In the case of casein, it would be logical to conclude that casein who cause more damage than milk, as both are milk, but casein alone is an unnaturally concentrated part of milk.

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    Guest TONY COLATRELLA

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    You made an error in your conclusion---the article DID NOT show a difference between the casein hydrolysate or the regular cow's milk---you stated it did---that was NOT the result of the study---you should correct your summary. In regard to Jeff´s criticism---technically a casein hydolysate and cow's milk are not the same---casein is the main protein in milk but if it was extensively hydrolyzed it would then alter the composition of the milk and that is what the study was comparing and it showed no difference in regard to the development of celiac disease---which is probably what you would have expected anyway

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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