Did your child get celiac because you introduced gluten at a time when they had an infection, including gastroenteritis? Researchers in this latest study want to know if the timing of this played a role in the triggering of celiac disease.
The research out of Sweden and recently published the Journal Pediatrics looked into just that — basically finding that it didn’t matter if a parent introduced gluten when a child had an infection, that it probably didn’t trigger celiac. “After adjusting for age at gluten introduction and breast-feeding duration, they found that neither any infection nor gastroenteritis was associated with a future diagnosis of celiac disease,” reported HealthDay News.
“This study adds valuable information to the current discussion regarding environmental risk factors and the pathogenesis of celiac disease,” the authors conclude. “However, we cannot rule out the possibility that specific pathogens constitute risk factors for celiac disease, because risk estimates for infection at the time of gluten introduction were of borderline statistical significance.”
According to the Pediatrics Abstract researchers report they also “found no associations between breastfeeding duration, age at gluten introduction, and future CD [celiac disease].” They said overall “these results indicate that parent-reported infection at the time of gluten introduction is not a major risk factor for CD.”
Despite the results, this study does make me look back at the time of gluten introduction and my child’s reactions. Emma was given Cheerios at about 7 -8 months-old and had crackers here or there. But it wasn’t really until just before turning a year that she was on a regular gluten diet. She had a horrible virus that she couldn’t shake for 3 months between 12-15 months old. We always figured that triggered the celiac for her, it probably still did, but maybe with the combination of adding the gluten and getting the infection at a crucial time in a baby’s life, it was too much for her system to handle, thus triggering the celiac disease. We will probably never really know. But I thought this research would be interesting for any parent with a young diagnosis of celiac.
If you have a child newly diagnosed with celiac disease, the Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition put together a family guide, which you might find helpful. Although it appears to be 5-years-old, it looks to be quick and comprehensive.