06/16/2011 08:31 am ET | Updated Aug 16, 2011

Infant Formula Affects Juvenile Diabetes

Finnish researchers have found that weaning infants off breast milk to a highly hydrolyzed infant formula -- where proteins in the formula are broken down into smaller bits to make them more easily digestible -- lowered their risk of later developing Type 1 diabetes, according to a recently distributed report in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that usually comes on during childhood. It occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, which is needed for the body to convert sugar into energy. The condition is different from Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body is resistant to insulin or stops making insulin.

Follow-up tests are currently being concluded in 15 countries, looking at the impact of infant formula-feeding in children up to age 10, Yahoo! News said.

The researchers also published a study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that babies fed hydrolyzed infant formula had a lower risk of developing Type 1 diabetes than babies fed regular cow's
milk formula, Reuters reported. However, researchers said they were unable to determine if the lower diabetes risk was from the avoidance of regular cow's milk formula, or if it was from drinking the special hydrolyzed formula.