Gluten in Infants’ Diet Linked to Type 1 Antibodies

If your child is younger than 3 months, you might want to be cautious about adding any foods that contain gluten to the baby’s diet.

Researchers in Germany studied the diets of 1,610 children born to parents who themselves had type 1 diabetes between 1989 and 2000, focusing on the duration of breastfeeding and the introduction of gluten-containing foods into the infants’ diet. Because of their parents’ diabetes, the children were at higher risk for the disease.

Blood samples were obtained from the children at birth, 9 months and 2 years of age. Data on breastfeeding and diet was obtained from questionnaires and family interviews.

The researchers report that introducing foods that contained gluten when the children were younger than 3 months increased the risk of developing islet autoantibodies, which precede type 1. Children who were given gluten-containing foods after the age of 6 months did not have an increased risk.

A shorter duration of breastfeeding was not significantly related to a greater risk of developing the antibodies in this study.

-Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003

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