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  • Scott Adams

    Early High Dose Gluten Introduction Can Help Prevent Celiac Disease

    Scott Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A new study indicates that feeding infants a few grams of gluten each week, starting at 4 months of age, can prevent celiac disease later on.


    Celiac.com 10/05/2020 - There is currently no medical strategy for preventing celiac disease before it starts. Could the amount and time of gluten introduction in infant diets influence celiac disease rates? A new study indicates that early consumption of high-dose gluten should be considered as a strategy to prevent celiac disease

    There's been a good deal of research about the best time for introducing gluten in infant diets, but there are still a number questions about exactly when to introduce it, how much is best, and what the benefits might be. A team of researchers recently set out to see if the introduction of gluten is associated with a lower rates of celiac disease in children at three years of age.



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    The research team included Kirsty Logan, PhD; Michael R. Perkin, PhD; Tom Marrs, BM, BS; Suzana Radulovic, MD; Joanna Craven, MPH; Carsten Flohr, PhD; Henry T. Bahnson, MPH; and Gideon Lack, MB, BCh. They are variously affiliated with the The Paediatric Allergy Research Group, Department of Women and Children’s Health, School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom; the Population Health Research Institute, St George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom;  the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom; and with the Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, Washington.

    The researchers studied 1,303 children and compared average amounts of gluten consumed by those who were divided into an early gluten introduction group who were fed gluten at 4 months, to that of a standard gluten introduction group that did not receive gluten until at least age 6 months.

    They found that the early introduction group ate about 2.66 grams per week between 4 and 6 months of age, while the standard introduction group did not receive gluten until at least age 6 months, and ate about a half a gram of gluten per week. 

    The team found that about 1.5% of children in the standard introduction group were diagnosed celiac disease, compared with none in the early gluten introduction group.

    Infants who began to eat gluten four months of age had lower rates of celiac disease later on. These results indicate that exposing infants to early high-dose gluten consumption could be a good way to prevent future celiac disease.

    Until now, there's been no medical strategy for preventing celiac disease before it starts. The discovery that feeding infants a few grams of gluten per week starting at age four months could prevent celiac disease is very exciting news.

    Stay tuned for more on this and related stories.

    Read more at JAMA Pediatrics

    Edited by Scott Adams

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    I highly disagree with this article. We fed our daughter gluten at this early stage. I was unable to breastfeed and had to use formula. The formula we used had gluten. There were early signs there was something wrong but we couldn’t figure it out because this was 20 years ago when the doctors didn’t test for celiac disease. They just said she needed more iron. Feed her Cheerios. She ate Cheerios every day for a snack. It was finally in the  first grade when my daughters teacher suggested getting her tested. My daughter was off the charts. I do not believe this can prevent celiac disease. A small study does not a prevention make  

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    Vriezinga, et al, in 2014 published a double blind study comparing gluten at four months vs. delay until 6 months, with 944 randomized at-risk infants across 8 countries. Their conclusion: " At age 5 years the cumulative prevalence of celiac disease was 12.1%, and there was no significant difference in risk of celiac disease when comparing the intervention to the placebo group". Three years old is too early to tell, especially when so many people are misdiagnosed until well into their adulthood. Some of my symptoms started in early childhood and went away only after I started the gluten-free diet at age 64.

    On 10/13/2020 at 11:35 AM, Guest Judy said:

    Feed her Cheerios

    In 1976 they told my wife to take Valium, until we found a doctor who diagnosed my son. He was biopsy diagnosed at around 6 months old.

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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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