Omega-3 Intake Through Mother’s Breast Milk May Lower Type 1 Diabetes Risk

New research suggests that an early intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids through the mother’s breast milk may lower the risk of type 1 diabetes in infants.
Research shows that dietary intake of omega-3 in the mother may prevent type 1 diabetes in the infant receiving her breast milk.

Type 1 diabetes affects more than 20 million people across the globe, and more than a million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the disease.

The condition is an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s own immune cells attack the so-called beta cells. Beta cells are responsible for producing insulin, which, in turn, is needed to decrease the levels of sugar in the blood. Therefore, in type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin, and patients with this condition must have it administered artificially in order to survive.

Type 1 diabetes used to be called “juvenile-onset” diabetes, as the disease tends to be diagnosed when the patient is in their mid-teens. In fact, studies have shown that between 2001 and 2009, the number of cases of type 1 diabetes increased the most between those aged 15 to 19.

A new study suggests that something could be done to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Sari Niinistö, of the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Helsinki, Finland, and the team set out to investigate whether or not maternal intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can help to prevent type 1 diabetes in infants.

Omega-3 fats are a subtype of polyunsaturated fats – that is, the “good” kind of fat – and are found most commonly in fish and fish oil, although they can also be found in nuts, leafy vegetables, and other vegetable oils.

The findings were published in the journal Diabetologia.

Studying the link between omega-3 serum levels and autoimmunity

Dr. Niinistö and team used data from the Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention Study. They examined whether particularly high serum levels of omega-3 during infancy are associated with autoimmunity development in children who already had a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

The researchers examined 7,782 infants between 3 and 24 months old who were at genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. They monitored their islet cell autoantibodies, taking blood samples regularly. Blood samples were also taken up to the age of 15.

Pancreatic Islets are clusters of cells that contain the insulin-producing beta cells.

The researchers also used food questionnaires and diaries to track the use of breastfed milk and formula – which are the two main sources of fatty acids for infants.

Of these newborns, 240 infants, together with 480 controls, developed islet autoimmunity. The researchers analyzed the samples of serum fatty acids that had been collected at 3 and 6 months old.

The researchers also looked for insulin and glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies in these patients – both markers of type 1 diabetes.

Omega-3 from breast milk lowers risk of type 1 diabetes autoimmunity

The results revealed that high serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids correlated with a lower risk of insulin autoimmunity.

Specifically, high levels of docosahexaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid seemed to lower the risk. However, a high ratio of alpha-linolenic acid to docosahexaenoic acid, as well as a large ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, were associated with a higher risk of autoimmunity.

Additionally, the researchers found a correlation between fatty acids and the type of milk feeding.

Infants who had been breastfed had increased serum levels of fatty acids – such as pentadecanoic acid, palmitic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid – and had a lower risk of autoimmunity, compared with infants who were fed cow’s milk-based formula.

By contrast, a higher intake of formula correlated with an increased risk of autoimmunity. Dr. Sari Niinistö and colleagues summarize their findings:

[Our] findings support the view that breastfeeding, or some components of breast milk, including fatty acids, are protective, particularly with early autoimmunity [and] that long-chain omega-3 status during the early months, at a time when the immune system is maturing and being programmed, is critical.”

Prenatal Yoga Center

Deb Flashenberg is the owner, founder, and director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. In addition to teaching yoga to the prenatal and postnatal communities, Deb is a DONA-certified doula, Lamaze-certified childbirth educator, and has a wealth of knowledge in helping to educate and support women during and after pregnancy.

“I have a dance background and was introduced to yoga by a choreographer I was working with, and I immediately took to it,” Deb told MNT. “I slowly started to transition from dance class to yoga and never went back. After several years of teaching prenatal yoga and building a reputation and presence in the field, I started to get requests for online classes from people who lived outside of NYC [New York City].”

“Adding online classes allowed those not in the area to be part of the Prenatal Yoga Center community. Now we are blessed to have people from all over the world watch these videos and benefit from the practice of prenatal yoga.”

Deb and her team of highly trained and educated instructors use a three-pronged approach to teaching yoga. First, they focus on physical comfort and addressing the aches and pains of pregnancy. Next, the team nurtures a supportive community of friendship. Finally, they ensure that childbirth education themes and birthing trends are interwoven into classes.

The Prenatal Yoga Center offers a selection of yoga videos that help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms that result from the physical changes that occur during pregnancy. There are sequences to relieve lower back pain and ease carpal tunnel, as well as quick stretch therapies for aching legs and feet.

“I believe it is vitally important for women to mentally and physically prepare for labor, no matter if they want a medicated, unmedicated, or cesarean birth,” explained Deb. “When women have the tools they need to cope with labor, fear lessens and their labor improves.”

“In class, we focus on diaphragmatic breathing within the flow of poses while creating strength and flexibility in the whole body. We work on balancing the pelvis and pelvic ligaments and muscles to encourage the baby into optimal fetal position, and we teach the mothers how to strengthen and use their transverse abdominals, which will help them in the pushing stage. We also address common aches and pains of pregnancy and aim to alleviate them through asanas and specific yoga modifications.”

Yoga by the Prenatal Yoga Center can be viewed on their website or via their YouTube channel.

Here are Prenatal Yoga Center’s top three most popular yoga workouts:

  1. Alleviating back pain
  2. Breathing techniques for labor
  3. Helpful hip openers

As with any sport or physical activity, yoga will challenge the body to do things it may not have done before, which may cause injury. Never push yourself too hard and make sure you follow guidelines and precautions. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition or injuries, be sure to consult a doctor before practicing yoga.

How Can Frankincense Oil Aid in Natural Skin Care

Frankincense is a special sap from the Boswellia tree and it’s had a wide array of cultural applications for over 5000 years. Boswellia trees are hardy trees that yield the valuable resin when the bark is “striped”, or slashed open. It’s a process that’s done by hand to ensure the highest quality resin. Frankincense originated in Africa, India, and the Middle East, with most of the supply coming from the nation of Oman. Trade grew extensive and frankincense eventually became so prized that it was one of the three gifts presented in the Christian Nativity story.

Frankincense has been used in a myriad of ways and, in present times, it’s a popular ingredient in topical skincare products. In this article, we will explore some of the historical uses of this valuable resin, as well as its role in skin care. But first, let’s answer a simple question.

What Is Frankincense?

Frankincense is an aromatic, hardened tree resin. It contains several unique compounds, most importantly boswellic acid. The hard frankincense resin can be refined into an essential oil that offers remarkable health benefits, including boosting the immune system. The regional composition of frankincense is so distinctive that you can trace the source resin by analyzing the oil.

Traditional Uses of Frankincense and Frankincense Oil

Some of the most common uses for frankincense have been cultural or religious in nature. Because of its pleasant aroma, frankincense has been used as incense for centuries. The first recorded use of incense was in Fifth Dynasty Egypt (2345 – 2494 BC). Frankincense was also used in religious ceremonies in the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece. Eventually, its use spread to countries like China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Frankincense saw cultural use in Taoism, Buddhism, and Shinto. Frankincense became popular in Europe and its use was adopted by the Christian faith, particularly Catholicism.

Modern Uses of Frankincense

As the use of frankincense evolved, it became popular as an ingredient in many cosmetic and skin care products. In some areas, frankincense is found in deodorant and toothpaste. Frankincense is used to create natural household cleaning products and is one of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. You can find it in many cosmetic and skin care products as frankincense is frequently added to soaps, shampoos, lotions, and facial creams.

Its popularity is not simply because of its aroma; frankincense actually helps promote youthful, healthy skin. Mixing the essential oil with liquids (especially distilled water) can yield a fragrant, spray-on skin toner. You can combine frankincense oil can with other products to impart its health-supporting properties. Frankincense has a unique chemical composition and proven skin-strengthening abilities. That’s why, after thousands of years, it still remains an important part of natural skin care.

Let’s take a look at why this is so important.

Why Is Natural Skin Care Important?

Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is constantly exposed to the external environment and all its challenges. One of the primary responsibilities of your skin is to act as [thin] armor for your internal organs, muscles, skeleton, and more. It’s important to take care of your skin so it stays healthy. And, many of the best natural skin care products use frankincense to help achieve this goal.

Don’t underestimate the importance of using natural ingredients when it comes to skin care. If you wouldn’t put toxic substances in your mouth, why would you want to rub them on your skin? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many people do, as lesser products contain toxic ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin.

8 Skin Care Product Ingredients to Avoid

Eight common skin ingredients that should be avoided include…

  1. Parabens: commonly used preservatives found in many cosmetic products.
  2. Triethanolamine: used in herbicides and petroleum demulsifiers.
  3. Butylene Glycol: humectant that has been traced to contact allergens.
  4. Diethanolamine: can lead to skin irritation but commonly found in soaps, shampoos, cleaners, polishers, and other cosmetics.
  5. DMDM Hydantoin: harsh chemical preservative.
  6. Ethanolamine: listed as a chemical hazard by American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  7. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: widely used synthetic detergent with known side effects.
  8. Sodium Laureth Sulfate: shown to be a skin irritant.

This is by no means a complete list of harmful cosmetic additives. There are plenty more, and finding a safe skin care product may seem like an arduous task. That’s why choosing a product with natural ingredients, like frankincense, is so important.

How to Choose the Right Skin Care Product

Many people go out of their way to eat healthy, natural foods. That’s great! Unfortunately, not everyone puts the same thought into choosing the best skin care products. Your skin is not impermeable. Any substance you put on your skin could be absorbed into your bloodstream and dispersed throughout your body.

I suggest limiting yourself to skin care products made with natural ingredients like frankincense. Parfait Visage® is a premium, luxury face cream that was designed to help promote fresh, radiant skin. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, including organic Indian frankincense oil. It’s the perfect skin care product for keeping your face looking its best.