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20 February 2013

Early exposure to gluten may help babies

Modifying an infant's diet to include the protein gluten while the mother is still breast-feeding could lower the risk of caeliac disease, a common intestinal disorder, according to a study.

Modifying an infant's diet to include the protein gluten while the mother is still breast-feeding could lower the risk of caeliac disease, a common intestinal disorder, according to a new Swedish study.

"We now have proven this way of introducing gluten reduces the risk of getting caeliac disease," said Dr Anneli Ivarsson, a paediatrician at Umea University in Umea, and lead author of the study published online.

Gluten refers to proteins found in specific grains, including all forms of wheat and related grains such as barley and rye, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Caeliac disease affects about 1 percent of the population, according to Ivarsson. Genetic susceptibility plays a role. For those affected, a life-long gluten-free diet is advised.

How the study was done

To learn more about celiac disease, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

 
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