Wednesday, May 19, 2010

C-Sections May Raise Celiac Disease Risk in Offspring

C-section babies statistically are more prone to failure to thrive.  Physicians have unofficially concluded that it was due to anesthesia used in performing the delivery which caused sleepier and less energetic babies than traditional vaginal births. 

With the recent studies conclusions, isn't it possible that the failure to thrive wasn't due to anesthesia, but complications due to Celiac Disease?  This is entirely likely since cesarean births are also linked to an increase of Celiac Disease.

Read the article below from Health Day News.

TUESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Children born by cesarean section may be more likely to develop celiac disease, a chronic digestive disorder, than children born vaginally, new research finds.

Researchers analyzed data on almost 2,000 children seen at gastrointestinal outpatient clinics for celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal diseases, and compared their rates of C-section vs. vaginal delivery to children who had not been diagnosed with any gastrointestinal conditions.

Compared to children born vaginally, children delivered by C-section were 80 percent more likely to develop celiac disease.

"We did not find any association with the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," said lead study author Dr. Mathias Hornef of Hannover Medical School in Germany. "We did see a moderate but significant association with celiac disease."

People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, have an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This leads to inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine.

The study is published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers aren't sure why there could be a link between the mode of delivery and celiac disease, but one possible explanation is that children born via C-section don't pick up the same microbes from their mothers as babies that pass through the vaginal canal, Hornef said. This alters the infant's colonization with gut microflora, or "good" microbes, that aid in digestion and fending off pathogens.

Previous research suggests there are differences in the intestinal bacterial flora between children born vaginally or by C-section.

"We are only beginning to understand the complexity of the host-microbial interaction at the intestinal mucosa, and it is difficult to make firm conclusions at this stage," Hornef said.

Among children and adults, rates of celiac are on the rise, noted Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical School in New York City.

Though no one knows why, some believe a contributing factor is the "hygiene hypothesis," or the idea that an overly sanitized, microbe-free world means babies today are no longer exposed to as many infectious agents and microorganisms as their ancestors. This may have altered the human immune system and might explain the increase in allergies, such as hay fever and eczema, and possibly autoimmune diseases, such as celiac and inflammatory bowel disease, Green said.

"We are being born in hospitals, not on kitchen tables anymore. We take antibiotics," Green said. "It's possible our intestinal flora is very different from people in the past."

Does any of this suggest that women with a personal or family history of celiac disease avoid C-sections? According to both Green and Hornef, it's too early to make firm recommendations.

"I think our data are not evidence enough to already make a medical recommendation, but rather they shed light on a possibly ill-studied issue," Hornef said. "The data first need to be confirmed."

Green agreed, adding that, "the message to patients would be that the C-section, if it cannot be avoided, should make them more aware that there is an increased risk for celiac disease in the C-section-delivered children and it should make them more alert to look for signs and test earlier (and maybe more frequently)."

Genes and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of celiac disease, Green said. Symptoms of the condition include diarrhea, cramping and failure to thrive in babies, though not everyone experiences the disease the same way.

Over time, dietary gluten can cause small intestine villi (tiny hair-like intestinal protrusions) to atrophy, leading to disruptions in the absorption of vitamins and iron, as well as anemia, osteoporosis and even an increased chance of death.

The treatment for celiac is to stop eating gluten.

The treatment for Celiac is to stop eating gluten.  However that has become extremely difficult if not impossible with today's culture of pre-packaged convenience foods, drive thru's, ill equipped restaurants and busy lives.

Diet is the key contributing factor that effects a person's health.  People with Celiac Disease, or Gluten Sensitivity are aware of this truth from experience.  It is almost impossible to never eat gluten, unless you carry food with you everywhere you go.  Imagine going to a wedding and carrying a lunch.  This is how people with Celiac must live their lives.  Until now......

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Even if a Celiac chooses to continue eating the Gluten Free diet that they've become so accustomed to, taking the product would be great peace of mind for those accidental exposures and moments in life where there "just isn't anything I can eat."  After trying the product and gaining confidence about your exposure risks to gluten, many people have found that they enjoy splurging with gluten-containing food every now and then.

Fruits, vegetables, solid sources of protein and whole foods will always be the best diet a person can live on.  But now, that healthy diet may contain gluten if you want it to. 

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