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Vegies every day to protect baby from type I diabetes.

Brekke HK, Ludvigsson J 2009. Daily vegetable intake during pregnancy negatively associated to islet autoimmunity in the offspring: ABIS study. Pediat Diabetes Sep 16 (Epub ahead of print).

This Swedish study investigated the maternal diet during pregnancy to see if it was associated with occurrence of islet autoimmunity (IA) in offspring. In particular the authors were looking at daily vegetable intake (all vegetables except root vegetables). They used data from the All Babies in Southeast Sweden (ABIS) study which included 16 004 screening questionnaires (including a 22 item food frequency questionnaire about the mothers' diet during pregnancy) completed after delivery. Follow up of 5724 children (questionnaires and blood sampling) was performed at 1, 2.5 and 5 year's of age. IA was defined as being positive in two or more measurements of autoantibodies indicative of the autoimmune response: glutamic acid decarboxylase (GADA); tyrosine phosphatase (IA-2A); insulin autoantibodies (IAA) analysed at the three time points or being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the 5 year follow up period.

Of the almost 6000 children tested, 3.3% (191 children) had either elevated levels of these antibodies or fully developed type 1 diabetes. According to the findings these risk markers were up to twice as common in children whose mothers rarely ate vegetables during pregnancy, while the risk was lowest among children whose mothers stated that they ate vegetables every day. In other words mothers who ate vegetables only three to fives times per week increased the risk of type 1 diabetes in their children by 70% compared with women who consumed vegetables daily during pregnancy.

The authors consider that while this does show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing type 1 diabetes, more studies are needed which take into account other factors such as the mother's standard of education. Commenting on the potential active ingredients, the authors note that vitamins C and E have been shown in previous studies to protect against type 1 diabetes. Flavonoids are a powerful antioxidant and have been suggested to be potentially therapeutic agents for type 1 diabetes. The most frequently consumed vegetables in Sweden during 1996-1999 when ABIS pregnancy data was collected were tomatoes, cabbage, onions, lettuce and cucumbers.

Kim Hunter MNHAA

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Author:Hunter, Kim
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 22, 2009
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