I saw an interesting video recently that indicated a link between the early consumption of cow’s milk and the incidence of Type 1 Diabetes. In all countries but one, the greater the cow’s milk consumption, the greater the incidence of Type 1 Diabetes (also called Juvenile Diabetes).

What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Type 1 is the kind that usually has onset in childhood and is an autoimmune disease resulting in the pancreas no longer producing insulin.
  • Type 2 normally has an onset later in life (though we are seeing it in younger people now) and can often be managed through diet. In this form, the body still makes insulin, but it can’t get into the cells where it’s needed.

So what does cow’s milk have to do with an autoimmune disease? The only country that DIDN’T show an increase in Type 1 Diabetes along with cow’s milk consumption, was Iceland. The people in Iceland are not that different to their neighbours but their cows are. Icelandic cows generally produce only A2 proteins.

A1 and A2 proteins are broken down differently in the body. So researchers began a study testing the effects of hydrolysed (broken down) infant formula and the incidence of Type 1. There didn’t seem to be any correlation.

Another thought, however, is that it’s the introduction of Bovine (cow) Insulin, that may cause Type 1. In children that had consumed cow’s milk, as opposed to breast milk, the rate of insulin antibodies was much higher.

Only time will tell if bovine insulin is the culprit.

Dr Carmen Hunwardsen owns and operates Carmen’s Spinal Care, a busy North Brisbane chiropractic clinic in Everton Hills.