Does exposure to antibiotics during your first year of life increase your risk of celiac disease? According to a nationwide study of children in Norway and Denmark, there is a link between the two.
GUT HEALTH, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, & CELIAC DISEASE
What’s really interesting about this study is that it shows the scientific community is beginning to acknowledge that gut health influences more aspects of our overall health and wellbeing than we previously believed to be the case. The background and aim of the study was this:
“The intestinal microbiota is thought to be involved in pathogenesis of celiac disease, along with genetic variants and dietary gluten. The gut microbiota is strongly influenced by systemic antibiotics—especially in early life.”
”We explored the association between exposure to a systemic antibiotic in the first year of life and risk of diagnosed celiac disease.”
THE ANTIBIOTICS STUDY
The study was comprised of over 1.7 million children born in Denmark from 1995-2012 (a 17 year span) and children born in Norway from 2004-2012 (an 8 year span). Of the 1.7 million children, 3,346 were diagnosed with celiac disease.
Those born in Denmark were followed until 2015, making them between 2-20 years old at the end of the study.
Those born in Norway were followed through the end of 2013, making them between 1-10 years old at the end of the study.
The study found two correlations. First, taking systemic antibiotics during the first 12 months of life was positively associated with a diagnosis of celiac diaease.
In simpler words, more of the celiacs had been exposed to antibiotics during their infancy than those without celiac disease.
Second, a dose-dependant relationship was demonstrated as the number of antibiotic prescriptions increased.
However, there was no apparent age that was more vulnerable, and there was no difference in effect between the different classes of antibiotics.
The study concluded that being exposed to systemic antibiotics during the fist 12 months of life is associated with celiac disease diagnosis later in life.
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