Lack of Vitamin D Linked to Diabetes-Related Autoimmunity

Vitamin D and DiabetesNew research has found that making sure children have adequate Vitamin D levels throughout childhood could be important in lowering the risk of islet autoimmunity (IA) in children with a genetic risk for Type 1 Diabetes.  IA is implicated in the progression and development of Type 1 Diabetes.

Data from over 350 children who developed islet autoimmunity was compared with data from over 1,000 children who did not have this disorder.  Researchers found that in “children with a genetic variant in the Vitamin D receptor gene”, children who developed islet autoimmunity had lower Vitamin D levels in both childhood and infancy when compared to children that did not develop IA.  These findings were part of The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study.  This multi national study searched for protective factors and triggers of Type 1 Diabetes.  Over 8,600 children with elevated Type 1 Diabetes risks participated in the full TEDDY study.  Every 3 – 6 months the study participants gave a blood sample.  The study began in infancy.

Type 1 Diabetes is considered to be a chronic autoimmune disease and is now the most common metabolic disorder in children under 10 years of age.  The incidence of Type 1 Diabetes is increasing by 3% – 5% annually.

Researchers are looking at future studies to establish a cause and effect between Vitamin D supplementation and its ability to aid in preventing Type 1 Diabetes.




Could Probiotics Restore Microbiome Imbalance Linked to Auto-Immune Disorder?

Probiotics and ImmuneA new study finds that probiotics may aid in restoring imbalances in gut bacterial in patients with the auto-immune disorder systemic sclerosis.  Systemic sclerosis affects connective tissue in the body.  It is not a common condition, but results in the skin thickening and becoming hard.  Occasionally this condition creates problems with blood vessels and internal organs.

17 adults with systemic sclerosis from UCLA, 17 adults with systemic sclerosis from Oslo University Hospital and 17 healthy adults participated in this trial.  Stool specimens were used to determine the amount and types of bacteria present.  Participants with systemic sclerosis had significantly lower amounts of gut bacteria believed to protect against inflammation like Bacteroides.  Additionally the participants with systemic sclerosis were found to have higher amounts of bacteria, like Fusobacterium, which actually promote inflammation when compared to those without this auto-immune disorder.

Researchers believe that probiotics are helpful in restoring the bacterial balance in the gut in individuals suffering from systemic sclerosis and play a role in improving these patients quality of life.

Further testing is planned using larger patient groups.


Omega 3 Oil May Stop the Onset of Lupus

Omega-3's may help prevent lupusA new mouse study has found consuming Omega-3 Fatty Acids may stop a lupus episode and possibly the trigger of other autoimmune conditions.  The research specifically looked at lung and kidney lesions caused by lupus, an autoimmune condition.  96% of these lung lesions were halted with supplementation of DHA.

Female mice who were already genetically predisposed to lupus took part in this preclinical study.  The mice were fed diets that contained 0%, .4%, 1.2% or 2.4% DHA.  After 2 weeks of this protocol the mice were then exposed weekly to 1 mg of crystalline silica (cSIO2), also known as quartz which is a know trigger of the autoimmune response in the lungs and kidneys. This lasted for 4 weeks.   The mice were given their diet containing the DHA for an additional 12 weeks.

The mice were assessed for markers of autoimmunity and inflammation in the kidneys, lungs and blood.  Certain antibodies (CD45R+) found in the lung were reduced in accordance with the amount of DHA consumed.  A 96% reduction was seen in the group receiving the highest amount of DHA (2.4%).  Immune cell (CD3+) numbers in the lung were also reduced with an 83% reduction seen in the mice receiving the 2.4% DHA in their diet.

Researchers believe the DHA may be changing the method in which macrophages, healthy cells, responded to the silica in the lungs and might actually be changing the response of the immune system.

Further studies are warranted.