Breastfeeding may protect against gluten intolerance (coeliac disease)

November 14, 2005

Breastfeeding may protect children against gluten intolerance otherwise known as coeliac disease, suggests research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

People with coeliac disease develop a permanent sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye, and barley. An estimated 1% of the UK population is affected.

Genes play their part, but it is also thought that some environmental factor in infancy primes the immune system to react to gluten later on.

The researchers systematically reviewed research on breast feeding and the risk of gluten intolerance published between 1996 and 2004.

Of the 15 studies, six matched the criteria set by the researchers. The analysis of more than 900 children with coeliac disease and almost 3500 healthy children showed that the longer a child was breastfed, the lower was his or her risk of the condition.

And infants who were being regularly breastfed when they were first introduced to foods containing gluten cut their risk of developing coeliac disease by 52% compared with those who were not being breastfed.

The analysis did not provide any clues as to whether breastfeeding conferred permanent protection against gluten intolerance or whether it merely delayed symptoms. Nor was it clear exactly how breastfeeding protects a child.

It may be that a child is simply exposed to less gluten during weaning if s/he is being breastfed, suggest the authors. But breastfeeding might also cut the number of gastrointestinal infections, thereby reducing the potential to weaken the lining of the bowel, or it may curb the immune response to gluten, they say.
-end-


BMJ Specialty Journals

Related Breastfeeding Articles from Brightsurf:

New guidelines say breastfeeding is safe after anaesthesia
New guidelines published by the Association of Anaesthetists in the journal Anaesthesia, to coincide with the start of World Breast Feeding Week (1-7 August) say that breastfeeding is safe after the mother has had anaesthesia, as soon as she is alert and able to feed.

New protocol on breast cancer and breastfeeding
Managing women with breast cancer who are breastfeeding is a complex issue.

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.

Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.

Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.

New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.

Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.

Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.

Read More: Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.