Can the Introduction of Gluten to a Baby’s Diet Precipitate Celiac Disease?

More attention is now being given to the timing of introducing wheat and gluten-based foods to babies, and how that timing may impact whether or not babies genetically predisposed to celiac disease will develop the disease. If gluten is introduced too early or too late, the child’s risk of developing the disease may increase.

It’s clear at this point that the research is only suggestive and much remains to be studied. But initial research findings indicate that babies introduced to gluten within their first three months were at higher risk of developing the disease than babies who were first introduced to gluten between four to six months of age. And babies who are first introduced to gluten after seven months have a marginally increased rate of developing the disease. These findings suggest an optimal window of time for introducing gluten to the diet, between four and six months of age. Research also suggests that breast feeding in conjunction with introducing gluten may have an effect on preventing the development of celiac disease in genetically predisposed babies. Regardless of the research, consult your doctor on the best way to introduce gluten into your baby’s diet.

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