Gluten consumption during the first five years of life was linked to a higher risk of celiac disease and celiac disease autoimmunity (the presence of antibodies in the blood) among genetically predisposed children, stated new research.
It remains unclear whether the amount of gluten consumed can trigger celiac disease. This observational study included 6,605 children born between 2004 and 2010 in Finland, Germany, Sweden and the United States who had a genetic predisposition for celiac disease.
Gluten intake was estimated from food records collected at ages 6, 9, and 12 months and then biannually until the age of 5. Of the 6,605 children, 18% developed celiac disease autoimmunity and 7% developed celiac disease. The incidence of both outcomes peaked at 2 to 3 years old.
A limitation of the study is the uncertainty of the accuracy of the reported gluten intake. The authors suggest a randomized clinical trial be done of different amounts of gluten during early childhood in genetically at-risk children.
Authors: Daniel Agardh, M.D., Ph.D., Lund University, Malmo, Sweden and coauthors
Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.