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  • Jefferson Adams

    Breastmilk, Baby Formula, and Genetic Factors Likely Influence Celiac Disease Risk

    Jefferson Adams
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    Celiac.com 09/09/2011 - A team of researchers recently set out to assess the effects of milk-feeding behavior and the HLA-DQ genotype on intestinal colonization of Bacteroides species in infants with a risk of developing celiac disease.

    The research team included E. Sánchez, G. De Palma, A. Capilla, E. Nova, T. Pozo, G. Castillejo, V. Varea, A. Marcos, J. A. Garrote, I. Polanco, A. López, C. Ribes-Koninckx, M. D. García-Novo, C. Calvo, L. Ortigosa, F. Palau, and Y. Sanz.



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    They are affiliated with the Ecofisiología Microbiana y Nutrición, Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (CSIC) in Valencia, Spain.

    appl-env-microbiology--sept-2011The team studied 75 full-term newborns with at least one first-degree relative who suffered from celiac disease. They classified the newborns according to milk-feeding practice (breast-fed or formula fed) and HLA-DQ genotype, which indicates high or low genetic risk.

    The team used PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to analyze stools at 7 days, 1 month, and 4 months. They found that formula-fed infants showed greater Bacteroides species diversity than did breast-fed infants.  Breast-fed infants showed a higher prevalence of Bacteroides uniformis at 1 and 4 months of age, while formula-fed infants had a higher prevalence of B. intestinalis at all sampling times, of B. caccae at 7 days and 4 months, and of B. plebeius at 4 months.

    Infants with low genetic risk showed greater colonization of B. ovatus, B. plebeius, and B. uniformis, while those with high genetic risk showed a greater colonization of B. vulgatus.

    Among breast-fed infants, those with low genetic risk had greater colonization of B. uniformis than those with high genetic risk, who showed higher rates of B. vulgatus.

    Among formula-fed infants, the prevalence of B. ovatus and B. plebeius was increased in those with low genetic risk, while the presence of B. vulgatus was greater in those with high genetic risk.

    The results indicate that both the type of milk feeding and the HLA-DQ genotype influence the types of Bacteroides that colonize in the intestinal tract, and possibly also influence risk for developing celiac disease.

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    This article does not make it clear whether a high diversity of bacteriodes is a good or bad thing, so it is impossible for the lay person to understand the implications of the results.

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    When writing an article for others to read, remember to explain your findings in a non scientific manner. This article does not make sense to it's readers, and can create confusion. Especially to those that are struggling with breastfeeding. Regardless of what it does or does not say- I will continue to breastfeed my baby, because I don't think that God's creation and design for mother's to feed their babies has any better way.

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    Thought it was just me, but evidently I'm not the only person who wasted my time reading this poorly worded article. Still have no clue what the findings really meant, since there was no conclusion.

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    What it is saying is that the types of bacteria were more diverse in formula fed infants at first, but the infants that were genetically predisposed in each group had higher B. vulgatus regardless of type of milk.

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    Research is still pending. High vs low diversity in the gut and celiac disease are not yet known. The article shows a pattern and that pattern has to be investigated further. Too soon for conclusions.

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    So the conclusion is that breast milk is better but you don't want to offend your sponsors? Because I sort of got that from the article about pushback on GMO wheat as a cause.

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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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