Breastfeeding and Celiac Disease

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The risk of celiac disease might be lessened in infants who are breast fed, according to a recent study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers investigated the Bacteroides gut bacteria and genetic predisposition for celiac in breast-fed versus formula-fed infants with at least one celiac parent. Previous studies found breastfeeding to be protective against the development of celiac disease, so researchers wanted to take the studies further.

They found that breastfeeding increased amounts of the bacteria Bacteroides uniformis, a species found to be higher in those infants at a lower genetic risk for celiac. The study involved 75 full term infants, and if confirmed in further studies, lead researcher Yolanda Sanz stated, “We will be able to recommend breastfeeding, and propose dietary intervention trials to modulate the intestinal microbiota in subjects at risk of developing celiac disease, in order to try to prevent its development.”

This week, if you know anyone with celiac or gluten sensitivity who is pregnant or trying to be, pass this info on. If they aren’t sure about breastfeeding, this study might change their mind.

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