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  • Gryphon Myers
    Gryphon Myers

    New Study Points to Antibiotics as Celiac Disease Risk Factor

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: antibiotics-CC_michaelll

    Celiac.com 07/22/2013 - Celiac disease is known to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The genetic markers are fairly well established by now, but the environmental factors that are associated with celiac disease are still pretty foggy. A recent study suggests that antibiotic use might be one such factor.

    In a population-based case-control study analyzing Swedish population data, antibiotic use was compared against diagnosis of celiac disease. 2,933 people with celiac disease diagnoses were linked to the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, in order to provide a history of antibiotic use. 2,118 people with inflammation (early celiac disease) and 620 people with normal mucosa but positive celiac disease blood test results were also compared. The control group consisted of 28,262 individuals matched for age and sex from the general population.

    The results of the study significantly suggest that antibiotic use is associated with celiac disease, at an odds ratio of 1.4 (1.27-1.53 confidence interval). Early celiac disease was also connected, with an odds ratio of 1.90 (1.72-2.10 confidence ratio), as well as positive celiac disease blood tests, at 1.58 odds ratio (1.30-1.92 confidence interval). Even when antibiotic use in the last year was ruled out, the results were very similar at 1.30 odds ratio (1.08-1.56 confidence interval). When ruling out patients with additional diseases, which could potentially be factors, the results were also very similar at 1.30 odds ratio (1.16-1.46 confidence interval).

    What does all that mean? A 1.4 odds ratio basically means that people who had a history of antibiotic use were 1.4 times as likely as those who had not taken antibiotics to develop celiac disease. The fact that inflammation associated with early celiac disease was also highly connected suggests that antibiotics' role in disrupting the biology of the GI tract could in some way cause celiac disease. There is still some question of causality, but it would seem that antibiotics could very likely be a culprit in the development of celiac disease, and should be avoided when possible.

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    Considering that celiac disease is also an AUTOIMMUNE disease, and our immune systems are screwed up; celiacs will be on antibiotics more often. We don't have the immune system to combat minor illnesses like everyone else does. Seriously, you need to question why or if celiacs will be on more antibiotics than others?

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    Considering that celiac disease is also an AUTOIMMUNE disease, and our immune systems are screwed up; celiacs will be on antibiotics more often. We don't have the immune system to combat minor illnesses like everyone else does. Seriously, you need to question why or if celiacs will be on more antibiotics than others?

    That's the missing piece - causality. I assume subsequent studies will explore this.

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    With animals raised for human consumption and regularly fed antibiotics, will more people get celiac disease symptoms?

    That's a very good point. I wish they'd look into how much all the modified food is affecting people as well.

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    For the record, my symptoms became full blown after a double round of antibiotics for a root canal infection, though I suspect I was gluten sensitive all my life.

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    I was on several different antibiotics when I got sick and was

    diagnosed with celiac disease through a positive blood test but normal mucosa / no villi atrophy, which baffled my doctor. My husband and I always suspected the antibiotics but my doctors say no.

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    Guest Michlle r. Taylor

    Posted

    I have a celiac issue but have not taken any antibiotics for a very long time, I do not believe in prescription drug usage, I am a holistic health advocate and believe in natural means. Maybe when I used to have to take them when I grew up had some kind of effect. My elderly mother took antibiotics left and right for some type of infection for years, and now that her immune system has weakened, I think due to the antibiotics and flu shots, I think she has some form of a wheat and gluten sensitivity, because she reacts to it at times, (i.e., digestion issue).

     

    I eat everything wheat and gluten-free now, digestion very sensitive.

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    Very interesting, I had cancer twice, and was left with a compromised immune system. In the meantime I got sick quite a lot and took antibiotics each time, now I get gammaguard infusions every 4 weeks which keeps me from getting sick.

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    My celiac disease was turned on after a particularly bad bout of double pneumonia and use of 3 different antibiotics because I had a lot of trouble kicking it. Since then, I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and other problems diagnosed as autoimmune problems. Interesting connection in the Swedish study. Why aren't there any American studies like this?

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    I was on antibiotic Cipro for 5 years for recurring bladder infections. Doctors are only trained to know what drug rids infections but many do not realize the havoc it creates on our intestinal and gut balances. I was diagnosed celiac ( blood test positive and villous atrophy) not long after my Cipro use. No doubt in my mind it contributed to my celiac disease.

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    I was on several different antibiotics when I got sick and was

    diagnosed with celiac disease through a positive blood test but normal mucosa / no villi atrophy, which baffled my doctor. My husband and I always suspected the antibiotics but my doctors say no.

    After attending Dr. Tom O'Bryan's Gluten Summit, I have learned that you can have no villous atrophy with a positive celiac blood test. The reason why, is that your celiac disease is so new that there has been no damage done yet and any inflammation which has started can be reversed with a strict gluten free diet.

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  • About Me

    Gryphon Myers recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, research emphasis in art, society and technology. He is a lifelong vegetarian, an organic, local and GMO-free food enthusiast and a high fructose corn syrup abstainer. He currently lives in Northern California. He also writes about and designs video games at Homunkulus.

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