Imad Absah, M.D., discusses a recent study published in Pediatrics that found an increased risk of celiac disease in children introduced to gluten after 6 months, as well as in children breastfed after 12 months age.
The link between the timing of gluten introduction into an infant's diet and the risk of developing celiac disease have been studied before, and using those studies along with this most current study, Dr. Absah discusses that:
- There does seem to be a window between 4 and 6 months of age where introducing gluten is better tolerated by an infant's immune system.
- Breastfeeding during this time period of gluten introduction might also have a protective effect and lower the risk of celiac disease.
He also mentions that more information on the subject should be available upon the completion of current clinical trials that are examining specific questions regarding the right amount and the right time to introduce gluten to an infant's diet.
Dr. Absah is a Mayo Clinic pediatric gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert.