Studies on the introduction of infant formulas and its effect on the risk of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes (T1D) have yielded inconsistent results. We investigated whether the introduction of formula based on hydrolyzed cow’s milk as the first formula is associated with reduced islet autoimmunity risk in a large prospective cohort.
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study prospectively monitors 8,676 children at increased genetic risk for T1D. Autoantibodies to insulin, GAD65, and IA2 were measured regularly to define islet autoimmunity. Information on formula feeding was collected by questionnaires at 3 months of age.
In survival analyses, after adjustment for family history with T1D, HLA genotype, sex, country, delivery mode, breast-feeding ≥3 months, and seasonality of birth, we observed no significant association with islet autoimmunity in infants who received extensively hydrolyzed compared with nonhydrolyzed cow’s milk–based formula as the first formula during the first 3 months (adjusted hazard ratio 1.38 [95% CI 0.95; 2.01]), and a significantly increased risk for extensively hydrolyzed formula introduced during the first 7 days (adjusted hazard ratio 1.57 [1.04; 2.38]). Using a partially hydrolyzed or other formula as the first formula, or no formula, was not associated with islet autoimmunity risk.
These results add to the existing evidence that islet autoimmunity risk is not reduced, and may be increased, by using hydrolyzed compared with nonhydrolyzed cow’s milk–based infant formula as the first formula in infants at increased genetic risk for T1D.