How to Protect Children From Celiac Disease

While many parents have asked what they can do to protect their children from celiac disease, the new answer will be more limited than in the past.  Two recent studies from NEJM indicate that timing of gluten introduction and breastfeeding do not appear to significantly influence the development of celiac disease.

Here are the links:

1st Study: Introduction of Gluten (6 months vs 12 months)

  • Results: (n=707) At 5 years of age, the between-group differences were no longer significant for autoimmunity (21% in group A and 20% in group B, P=0.59) or overt disease (16% and 16%, P=0.78 by the log-rank test).
  • CONCLUSIONSNeither the delayed introduction of gluten nor breast-feeding modified the risk of celiac disease among at-risk infants, although the later introduction of gluten was associated with a delayed onset of disease. A high-risk HLA genotype was an important predictor of disease.

2nd Study: Gluten 16-24 weeks or Delayed  n=944

  • CONCLUSIONS As compared with placebo, the introduction of small quantities of gluten at 16 to 24 weeks of age did not reduce the risk of celiac disease by 3 years of age in this group of high-risk children.

Here’s a story from Boston Globe summarizing findings: Tactics to Prevent Celiac

Bottomline: These well-designed studies argue persuasively against the previously held views that breastfeeding and timing of gluten introduction influence the development of celiac disease.

Related blog posts:

NASPGHAN Educational materials for medical professionals –NASPGHAN Celiac Link

6 thoughts on “How to Protect Children From Celiac Disease

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