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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-free Diet Prevents Diabetes (Type 1) at Same Rate as Gluten-enriched Diet

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 08/14/2007 - A study on the effects of a gluten-free diet versus a gluten-enriched diet on the incidence of diabetes in mice has yielded some surprising results that are not fully understood. The results of the study were published recently in the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.

    It is well known that environmental nutrition and infections play a key role in the development of diabetes (type 1). A Czech research team made up of doctors David P. Funda, Anne Kaas, Helena Tlaskalová-Hogenová, Karsten Buschard recently set out to study the relationship between type 1 diabetes and both gluten-free and gluten enriched diets. The team tested the hypothesis that early introduction of gluten into the diet might increase diabetes incidence in mice.

    For a period of 310 days, non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice were fed one of the following diets: standard diet, a gluten-free diet, a gluten + modified Altromin diet, or a hydrolyzed-casein based Pregestimil diet. The mice were observed for signs of diabetes, including evaluation for insulitis score, and numbers of gut mucosal lymphocytes.

    Compared to mice fed the standard Altromin diet, mice fed on the gluten-free and the Pregestimil diets showd markedly lower incidence of diabetes. Incidence rates were as follows (p < 0.0001): NOD mice fed gluten-free diet (5.9%, n = 34) and Pregestimil diet (10%, n = 30) compared to mice on the standard Altromin diet (60.6%, n = 33).

    Somewhat unexpectedly, the gluten+ diet also prevented diabetes to the same degree as the gluten-free diet (p<0.0001, 5.9% n=34). Of those mice who did develop diabetes, those on the gluten-free and Pregestimil diets did so at a later time than those on a standard diet.

    Compared to control mice, non-diabetic NOD mice on the gluten-free diet and to a lesser extent also gluten+ and Pregestimil diets showed lower insulitis scores. No significant differences were found in the number of CD3+, TCR-+, and IgA+ cells in the small intestine. The researchers concluded that a gluten-enriched diet prevents diabetes in NOD mice at the same rate as a gluten-free diet.

    Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, Volume 15, Issue 5 , Pages 323 - 327

    health writer who lives in San Francisco and is a frequent author of articles for Celiac.com.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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