Early Development of Celiac: What Children Are At Risk?
In the past many doctors have suggested exposing an infant to gluten if they were at risk for developing celiac disease. These children “at risk” are those that have parents or siblings with the condition. I have never condoned this practice but new research backs up that this early introduction is a bad idea. The University of Maryland said “there may be a benefit to delayed exposure, waiting until at least 12 months of age.” This new information comes after looking at the intestines of 26 at-risk infants exposed to gluten early VS late. “Compared to those infants who weren’t exposed to gluten until 12 months, those exposed earlier, beginning at 6 months, developed celiac disease more frequently (by 24 months).”
The introduction to gluten at earlier stages of development is very irritating to the digestive tract and many have other symptoms such as abnormal bowels, colic, reflux and trouble sleeping. Many parents struggle with ongoing rashes too and nothing seems to help, this may be due to gluten. I advise parents to stay clear of gluten until at least two years of age, waiting for their immune system to develop more and truly monitor if they have the pancreatic and digestive enzymes needed to break down gluten adequately. There are many gluten free options that make this easy so, why risk it?
You can read more about this article June/July 2012 issue of Living Without