Plate o gluten

Plate o gluten

Both celiac disease and type I diabetes run in my family, so this study about how a gluten-free diet reduced incidences of type I diabetes in mice is particularly interesting.  For years researchers and holistically-oriented health care practitioners have been pointing out a link between both dairy and gluten consumption and an increase in autoimmune disease (type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease, distinctly different from type II which is generally later-onset and related to lifestyle).

This study is the first I’ve seen with this angle: showing that a gluten-free diet can actually reduce the incidence of type I diabetes in baby mice (pups).  Consuming both dairy and gluten increases intestinal permeability, which can weaken the gut environment, make nutrients more difficult to absorb, and damage the immune system.

The researchers who conducted this study have hypothesized that changes to the digestive system and resulting immune system changes could be at root of the causal link between the gluten and type I diabetes.  However, there isn’t any current research that bares out the exact nature of the connection.

I would certainly love to see more research in this area.  Some of us, who have a family history of type 1 diabetes, or any autoimmune disease as I do, may consider adopting a gluten-free diet during pregnancy and lactation, in order to reduce the likelihood of our kids getting one of these diseases.

For more information on the study, click here.  For a fail-proof roadmap to adopting a nutritious gluten-free diet check out Eat Happy Meal Plan.