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Celiac Disease May Be Preventable in Baby's Early Months

Update Date: Oct 09, 2013 09:35 AM EDT

Introducing gluten in baby's early months may be the secret to preventing celiac disease, a digestive disorder.

Researchers report that delaying this introduction and breast feeding longer than one year can well be the cause of increase in developing the disorder.

"Celiac disease -- also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy -- is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten," according to WebMD. "Glutens are a form of protein found in some grains.  The damage to the intestine makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients, especially fat, calcium, iron, and folate."

A recent study by lead researcher Dr. Ketil Stordal, a researcher and consultant pediatrician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo took a look at the data collected on 107,000 children in the Norwegian Patient Register.

In these children, gluten introduction was reported monthly from the time of 0 to 6 months and breastfeeding from months 0 to 18 as mentioned in the study.

After finalizing the relatable information needed in order to perform the study, out of the 107,000 children, 324 babies participated in the analysis, they developed CD.

"Gluten was introduced before or at 4 months in 8.0%, 5 to 6 months in 45.3%, and after 6 months in 46.6%, whereas continued breastfeeding was stable at ∼78% at 6 months age. CD was diagnosed in 3.68/1000 of the infants with gluten introduction at 5 to 6 months compared with 4.15/1000 with late and 4.24/1000 with early gluten introduction. After adjustment for the child's age and gender, breastfeeding, and maternal CD, delayed gluten introduction was associated with an increased risk of CD," said Stordal according to the study.

At the conclusion of the research it was found that there was an increased risk for CD in children who didn't eat gluten after 6 months and higher risk in baby's breastfed after 12 months.

The findings are published in the Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics

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