For patients with celiac disease, conceiving, delivering, and nursing healthy babies are not insurmountable challenges. Past research has led to the hypothesis that infant feeding practices and early or delayed introduction to gluten are key to the development of celiac disease. However, two recent studies published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, co-authored by Joseph A. Murray, M.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that the timing of gluten introduction — whether early or late in the first year of life — made no difference to the subsequent development of celiac disease.
While disappointing, these results should encourage the study of other risk factors such as intrauterine exposures and environmental influences, including drug exposure and microbial infections. Given that celiac disease can develop at any age, it is imperative to study genetic background so as to develop future intervention strategies. With careful attention to diet, mother and baby can enjoy healthy lives.
Read the full study online here.
For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiac disease.
Dr. Murray is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.