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    Scott Adams

    Breast Feeding Longer Could Prevent Celiac Disease

    Scott Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:914-921.



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    Celiac.com 06/06/2002 - Results of a recent study conducted by Anneli Ivarsson and colleagues at Umea University in Sweden suggest that continuing to breast-feed infants while they are being introduced to new foods may reduce their risk of getting celiac disease. Dr. Ivarssons study suggests that the cause of celiac disease may include environmental factors, and not just be limited to genetic factors. Their study evaluated the breast-feeding habits of 627 children with celiac disease and 1,254 healthy children, and specifically looked at their responses to newly introduced foods. The results, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicate that dietary patterns of infants may have a strong influence on the bodys immune responses, and certain dietary patterns could lead to lifelong food intolerances. Children under 2 years of age who were still being breast-fed when they were introduced to dietary gluten had a 40% lower incidence of celiac disease.

    Another important factor was the overall amount of gluten in an infants diet, and a direct correlation was found between increased gluten consumption and an increased incidence of celiac disease. According to the researchers, the protective effect of breast feeding was even more pronounced in infants who were breast-fed beyond the introduction of gluten. Ultimately the teams findings indicate that breast feeding infants through the period of gluten introduction can significantly lower their risk of getting celiac disease. More research needs to be done to determine if this protective effect will extend over a lifetime.

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    Very practical to set up support to prolong nursing - It helped my 1st to get back onto growth chart off 3rd percentile) and all later were not to get treats from relatives.

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    Thank you so much for including this information on your website, and I hope that at some point you create a tab on the left of top for "Celiac Prevention" and include these articles. Those who are planning a family, and have a family history of celiac, need to consider the protective effect of breastfeeding. More doctors need to be made aware of this research so they can encourage and support breastfeeding for their child-bearing patients, in a positive, non-judgmental manner. If more disease organizations and foundations like yours highlighted this information it would put pressure on doctors, hospitals, employers, and insurers (not moms!) to support breastfeeding fully. Thanks again for leading the way.

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.


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