February 19, 2013

Human Milk can Neutralize Coxsackie

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milkA study published in Journal of Medical Virology indicates breast milk may play a role in helping to protect against environmental factors that may influence the development of Type 1 diabetes.

This may not be a well-known fact, but breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of T1D. Researchers wanted to investigate the role of enteroviruses in T1D. Supposedly breast milk transfers enteroviruses from mother to baby, that could lend a protective edge to the baby’s immunity.

In this study, the neutralizing activity of breast milk against CVB4 was evaluated. CVB4 is the coxsakie virus and is associated with T1D.

The study showed that the variations in anti-CVB4 activity in breast milk can be attributed to environmental and living conditions. Whether a low protective activity of breast milk against enteroviruses expose newborns to a higher risk of T1D deserves further investigation.

As far as I can recall, breastfeeding is probably the healthiest nourishment a baby can receive in the early stages of life. Time magazine tagged it as a social taboo beyond a certain age. I can see where the health benefits become a little ambiguous. But how long does it take to build immunity necessary to protect against T1D?

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