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Understanding Intestinal Bacteria in Infants at Risk of Developing Celiac Disease

Celiac.com 05/30/2012 - From what we understand about celiac disease, both genetic and environmental factors play a part in its development: eople with certain genetic dispositions are more likely to develop it, but studies of twins at high risk of developing celiac disease have shown that in 25% of cases, only one of the twins will develop the disease. This indicates an environmental effect, and with more research it might be possible to discover what these environmental factors are so that parents with celiac disease can take steps to prevent their children from developing the disease themselves.

Photo: CC--Nathan ReadingBreast-feeding has already demonstrated some protective effect on infants at risk of developing celiac disease, but it is still unclear how the modulation of intestinal bacteria affects the formation of the disease. Understanding the role various strains of intestinal bacteria play in the intestine could be the key to understanding why breast-feeding helps prevent celiac disease, and perhaps why celiac disease develops at all.

In the present study, 75 newborns with at least one first degree relative with celiac disease were broken into breast-feeding, formula-feeding groups, high (7-28%) and low (less than 1%) genetic risk groups, then tested at 7 days, 1 month and 4 months for prevalence and diversity of intestinal bacteria.

Infants at high risk of developing celiac disease had more Bacteroides vulgatus, regardless of feeding methods while infants at low risk of developing celiac disease had more Bacteroides ovatus, Bacteroides plebeius and Bacteroides uniformis.

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Formula-fed infants had more Bacteroides intestinalis, Bacteroides caccae and Bacteroides plebeius, though prevalence depended on the testing stage.

The most striking finding of the experiment seems to indicate that both low genetic risk of celiac disease development and breast-feeding are positively correlated with the prevalence of Bacteroides uniformis in the intestines. This might explain why breast-feeding can help protect against development of the disease, by introducing more Bacteroides uniformis into the infant's intestinal bacteria community.

The implications of this research are still unclear, but a follow-up study on these infants is intended. Further research may explain how the prevalence of these bacteria in the intestine actually affects the development of celiac disease in infants.

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2 Responses:

 
Mish
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said this on
04 Jun 2012 7:58:28 PM PDT
This might help explain why my son didn't show any of the classic signs of celiac until he weaned (a few months after he turned 2). He always had GI issues, but none of the more extreme ones. Makes me wonder what will happen with my second born after he weans...

 
Sara
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said this on
08 Jun 2012 11:46:06 AM PDT
I wish that breast feeding did prevent celiac disease, however my daughter was breast-fed and developed celiac symptoms at 5 months. She is now 8 months and still breast fed, however I have had to cut out gluten to eliminate her symptoms. I'm afriad this will prevent parents who have breast-fed babies to not consider celiac disease as a possibility. It does happen when breastfeeding and she does not take formula.




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You may find these interesting, they're from Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou, a leading expert on gluten ataxia: http://www.acnr.co.uk/pdfs/volume2issue6/v2i6reviewart2.pdf Best of luck helping your daughter

Yep. The one that is most relevant I think is the post by Backtalk. Backtalk went back on gluten and have to a colostomy done on an emergency basis. Not fun. She regretted ignoring the gluten-free diet.

Welcome Lochella Hopefully you can draw some comfort from finally having an answer and thus starting the path to good health. Healing is going to come from your own body as you progress on the gluten free diet and it stops fighting itself and starts repairing that damage. You're still in the very early days and it's not an instant process sadly. 6 months is the usual figure bandied around for seeing significant improvement, although hopefully you'll get some signs of improvement much quicker than that. The single best thing you can do is to eat good simple whole foods and make sure absolutely no gluten gets into your diet. There's some tips here: With stomach pains peppermint tea is my go to drink. Avoiding caffeine seems to help as well as its rough on digestion at the best of times. This may be a time to ease up on alcohol as well and consider dropping dairy, many find they're lactose intolerant but this can correct itself in time. You will find lots of good info, advice and support here, I hope the community is of help to you as it was to me. Best of luck!

I recently got diagnosed with Celiac disease I must of had it my whole life. I'm 35 I've always had severe stomach problems, in and out of hospitals and misdiagnosed until now. My small intestine is severely damaged I'm now waiting to see a dietitian and my specialist wants to see me again in 2 weeks. How do some of you deal with the pain of the healing process and what helps you? I'm in so much pain?

I recently got diagnosed with Celiac disease I must of had it my whole life, in 35 I've always had severe stomach problems in and out of hospitals and misdiagnosed until now. My small intestine is severely damaged in now waiting to see a dietitian and my specialist wants to see me again in 2 weeks. How do some of you deal with the pain of the healing process and what helps you? I'm in so much pain?