Have Celiac Disease? Blame Your Birthday

I chuckled when I read that children born in the spring and summer are more likely to develop celiac disease than those born in fall and winter. C’mon, really?

Baby August's First Cake

Baby August’s First Cake (Photo credit: tainkeh)

Then I got thinking about how my son and I both have celiac disease and our birthdays are in April, a week apart.  Hmmm . . . .So I dug a little deeper.

While research is minimal, there are indeed a few studies examining the season of birth and the incident of celiac disease.  I listed them below in case you are a nerd. . . uh, a really inquisitive person . . .  like me and like to read such things. The theory goes like this: Babies born in spring and summer start eating solids containing gluten–wheat, barley, rye–around six months of age. That’s smack in the middle of cold and flu season.  Having a viral infection could play a role in a baby’s autoimmune system’s response to gluten.

Now that doesn’t seem so farfetched to me.

In fact, one Swedish study reported that the highest risk of CD was seen in children who had several infections within six months of age and who ate large amounts of gluten (as opposed to small and medium amounts), soon after gluten was introduced, and if breastfeeding had stopped before baby started on gluten.

Oh my, I just had a flashback to all those Cheerios I fed my sons!  And thanks, researchers, for another guilt trip for not breastfeeding longer.

What these studies don’t tell us is whether these children had a genetic predisposition to CD.  Back when my kids were babies, I didn’t know CD ran in our family.  If I had, and I’d read these studies, I’d have introduced gluten slowly and in smaller amounts.

I certainly wouldn’t have kept that continual supply of Cheerios in the diaper bag!

Season of birth in a nationwide cohort of coeliac disease patients

Multicenter study on season of birth and celiac disease: evidence for a new theoretical model of pathogenesis.

What do you think . . .

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