Did you know that if your child is born in the spring or summer she has a higher chance of developing celiac disease? Well, according to a study by Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, it is true. The autoimmune disease is believed to be linked to both seasonal and environmental factors.
Celiac disease, which is triggered by eating gluten usually found in bread and foods with wheat, barley or rye, is rare but possible in African-Americans. It can wreak havoc on your small intestine making it hard to absorb nutrients, which can lead to severe stomach pain and nerve damage.
Out of the 382 Massachusetts children who volunteered, the majority were diagnosed with the disease between 11 months and 19 years old. While with the kids who were 15 to 19 years old, the season they were born in made no difference, the younger children were found to be diagnosed at a rate of 57 percent in March through August, and 43 percent from September through February.
It's not yet known what causes celiac disease but the time that gluten is introduced into the infant’s diet and the particular viruses they contract during their first year plays a role. Why the season would affect whether the child gets the disease has not yet been proven but some researchers think it's because children begin eating solids around the age of six months and children born in the spring and summer reach that age during the cold and flu season.
Because vitamin D deficiency has already been linked to celiac disease, researchers in the study have considered sunlight playing a role as well. The research will be presented in the coming week and is still considered to be a preliminary study.
For more information visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.