Potential Benefit Of A Gluten-Free Pregnancy
May 15, 2014

Potential Benefit Of A Gluten-Free Pregnancy

As I persist in living a gluten-free lifestyle, I continue to research and learn more about it. Recently, redOrbit published an article about the link between eating a gluten-free diet and type 1 diabetes. The article identifies that the University of Copenhagen has found that eliminating gluten from mouse mothers protected the offspring from type 1 diabetes.

As the article explains:

“During the course of the research, the authors observed changes in intestinal bacteria in both the mother and the pups as a result of the gluten-free diet. This gut bacteria plays an essential role in the development of the immune system, as well as the development for type 1 diabetes.

Furthermore, the research suggests that a gluten-free diet produces a protective effect which can be credited to specific intestinal flora, the researchers noted. While there is no evidence of other biological benefits, there appears to have no physical side effects to this diet. The only negative appears to be the inconvenience of eating gluten.”

The fact that the rodents had such a successful outcome based on the gluten-free diets of the mothers will likely apply to humans as well because type 1 diabetes manifests early in life, so that leads the researchers to conclude that the diet of pregnant mothers affects more than just the nutrients the fetus takes in but also affects the health of the baby once it is born.

All this leads the researchers to believe that type 1 diabetes may be easily preventable through a simple dietary change. For a long time, researchers, doctors, and scientists have pushed for more and more data on type 1 diabetes. Here is a possible solution for the future. Sure, some more research needs to occur, but this is a pretty exciting discover for the University of Copenhagen team because it shows a connection between the pregnant mother’s diet and the health of the baby once it is born.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease…In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.”

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did not have to learn to manage their condition but rather not have to deal with it all? Of course, this research does not guarantee that a gluten-free diet will absolutely prevent diabetes in all cases, but it certainly provides a possibility that is worth looking into more. Those with type 1 diabetes have a very strict, nearly gluten-free diet anyway, so doesn’t it stand to reason that a pregnant mother can do much good for her progeny simply by eating gluten-free for the 10 months she is pregnant?

Perhaps this is too early to be excited about the potential that this study exhibits, but I think it is at least worth some excitement. I can’t wait to see where this gluten-free information goes.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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