In an article published in the February issue of Diabetes Care, researchers found no rationale to reduce gluten intake during childhood and adolescence in a population with high T1D risk.
This study is part of the continuing output from The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) which follows children with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.
Researchers followed 1916 participants at risk for islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes longitudinally for a median of 13.5 years. Blood samples were collected at 9, 15, and 24 months of age, and annually thereafter.
Gluten intake was measured using food frequency questionnaires.
Overall, islet autoimmunity developed in 178 participants, defined as the presence of at least 1 autoantibody against insulin in ≥2 consecutive blood samples. Islet autoimmunity progressed to type 1 diabetes in 56 of these individuals.
Average daily gluten intake between age 1 to 2 years was 11.4 ± 5.61 g.
The researchers discovered no association between the development of islet autoimmunity and gluten intake at 1 to 2 years for each 4 g/day increase in gluten.
There was also no significant association between gluten intake and progression from islet autoimmunity to type 1 diabetes.
However, there was a significant association between the introduction of gluten before age 4 months and an increased risk for progression from islet autoimmunity to type 1 diabetes compared with the introduction of gluten at age 4 to 5.9 months.
“Given our finding of no association between the amount of gluten intake at age [1 to 2] years or throughout childhood and adolescence and the risk [for] islet autoimmunity and progression to type 1 diabetes,” the researchers said, “we conclude that there is no rationale to reduce the amount of gluten during childhood and adolescence in the high-risk population to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.”