Published: 29-05-2024 13:36 | Updated: 30-05-2024 09:09

New IMM thesis on diet, genetics, and diabetes

Welcome to Anna-Maria Lampousi´s defense of the thesis ”Diet, genetic susceptibility, latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, type 1 and type 2 diabetes” on June 4th.

Anna-Maria Lampousi Photo: Stefan Zimmerman

Time June 4 at 9.00 AM
Location: Petrénsalen, Nobels väg 12 B, Karolinska Institutet, Solna
Supervisor: Sofia Carlsson, Associate professor, Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM)
Opponent: Sabita Soedamah-Muthu, Associate professor, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University

Three questions to Anna-Maria

What is the thesis about?

The thesis investigates the relationship between diet, genetics, and the onset of diabetes, particularly focusing on autoimmune types such as type 1 diabetes and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). While it is understood that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of these conditions, the influence of diet is not well-defined. This research aimed to shed light on how diet may contribute to the development of LADA, type 1, and type 2 diabetes.

Can you tell us about some interesting results?

The strongest evidence suggested that extended breastfeeding and postponing the introduction of certain foods like gluten and cow’s milk may lower the risk of type 1 diabetes. It was also uncovered that high consumption of cow’s milk during childhood may trigger autoimmune diabetes, while in adulthood, it may not have a negative impact. On the contrary, the fatty acid 17:0, commonly found in dairy, was associated with a reduced risk of progressing to adult-onset diabetes in individuals with evidence of autoimmunity. Additionally, we found that higher intakes of antioxidant vitamins C and E may reduce the risk of autoimmune diabetes in both children and adults. Moreover, moderate alcohol intake was linked to a lower risk of LADA and type 2 diabetes, with the associations potentially influenced by genetic factors.

What further research is needed in the area?

Studies examining the impact of diet on autoimmune diabetes should extend to populations beyond Europe. Furthermore, there is limited evidence regarding the effect of maternal diet on the risk of diabetes in the offspring, necessitating more research. Future studies should also investigate whether dietary factors act as triggers or promoters of autoimmunity and if dietary modifications could be beneficial for individuals genetically predisposed to diabetes.

Read the thesis