Gut Bacteria Could Trigger Type 1 Diabetes

| February 7, 2017

I’ve been talking in my last two blog posts about the potential of an artificial pancreas to transform the lives of type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients. If you have T1D, you might be worried about passing on the condition to your children. This concern is quite natural, but latest research shows the risk of developing T1D depends more on environmental factors that you can control than on your genes, which you can’t. And the mix of bacteria present in your child’s gut could play a decisive role in triggering the condition.

Before I tell you about these latest findings, I would like to say goodbye to American actress Mary Tyler Moore, who died on 25 January at the age of 80. I remember how she made us laugh in the long-running sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show during the 1970s. What I didn’t know then was that Mary was living with T1D – a condition she made her life’s cause through her enthusiastic chairmanship of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The incidence of T1D has increased steadily since the 1950, something scientists initially put down to patients living long enough to pass on their genes to their children, whereas before insulin was discovered in 1921, most died young. But we now know that the vast majority of people who carry genes linked to T1D don’t actually develop the condition and it doesn’t tend to run in families, so some other factor must be involved in addition to a genetic one.

Recent research suggests that the missing piece of the T1D jigsaw puzzle is our gut bacteria – what scientists call the microbiome. A new study from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan shows that people with T1D have a microbiome that differs significantly from that of non-diabetics and is associated with a specific kind of chronic inflammation in the gut.1 And, compared to healthy subjects, they are also more likely to have “leaky gut syndrome”, a condition that I talked about previously here.

It is gradually becoming accepted in medical circles that T1D is a preventable condition. In my next blog post, I’ll tell you more about the role of the gut bacteria and the steps you can take to reduce your child’s risk of developing T1D.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. Pellegrini S, Sordi V, Bolla AM et al. Duodenal mucosa of patients with type 1 diabetes shows distinctive inflammatory profile and microbiota. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 January 19 (Online ahead of print).

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Category: Type 1 Diabetes

Comments (1)

Testimonials are based on the personal experience of individuals. Results are not typical and the potential benefits of taking any drug or supplement may vary depending on your individual needs and health requirements. Please consult your GP before making any changes to your medical regimen.

  1. ASHLING MAGEE says:

    Hi. My son Tadgh was diagnosed with T1 christmas 16, he was admitted to hospital with 32 approx sugar levels. He was released the 1st week in January on 26 units of insulin 3 times daily and we were in for check up yesterday, he is has come down off insulin to 1.5 units once a day and coping very well, they did he blood levels and were surpised he was 7.8, they said it was very good for someone only diagnosed. I make all our food from scratch with no added sugar and since being diagnosed he has only been allowed 2 x popcorns and 1 jelly per week as he gets that at his drama class. He obtains a clean diet with nuts, live yogurt – organic off course(sugar free) fruit and vegetables and meat, eggs, fish. I have been reading a book to learn how to make kefir, probiotic yogurt using raw milk and also in it is stated to take away potatoes, pasta, cereals, sugar etc… I know t1 is not diet related and the doctors say he is on a serious honeymoon but I feel diet is a huge influence to the amount of insulin needed too. Seems how he is still making beta cells, is there a way to keep this going? I have also read daily pure cod liver oils & fish oils help too and have started using my own meat stock as the animal fats are supposed to have an important role in helping. Ideally I would love to get him off insulin as anyone would.