Type 1 diabetes and gluten

All of these newspaper headlines that we see such as “red meat increases risk by 10%” or “whole grains reduce risk by 15%” can be pretty much ignored because the relationship between the two variables is so small. The ‘Bradford Hill’ criteria were set back in 1965 (Ref 1). The starting point for the Bradford Hill criteria is that the strength of association needs to be double. If it is, then the other eight criteria are worth looking at for potential causation and not just association.

Last week’s headlines were exciting therefore as there was a report of an association of double. A study published in the BMJ had found that pregnant women who had the highest consumption of gluten had double the risk of having a child with type 1 diabetes compared to those who ate the least gluten (Ref 2).

I really enjoyed researching for this week’s note. You can see the full article below. Just a couple of weeks ago while on holiday I had time to listen to some podcasts and I listened to the one with Joe Rogan and Mikhaila Peterson podcast (Ref 3). Mikhaila has been upsetting a lot of dieticians (and vegans) by having gone on a meat only diet (no plants, no fish, no dairy, no eggs – nothing but meat and only certain meats) and so I was interested to hear why and what had happened. In an almost throw away comment, Mikhaila said that Type 1 diabetics were routinely tested for Celiac disease in Canada, while wondering why she had not being tested for Celiac disease given that she also had an auto-immune condition (juvenile arthritis).

Following this, I started an exploration of Type 1 diabetes (T1D), auto-immune conditions and gluten, which I found to be fascinating. Apparently evidence has existed in the academic literature since the 1960s connecting gluten and T1D.

 

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