A gluten-free diet may have benefits to individuals who don't show symptoms of celiac disease but could be at risk, a new study indicates.
Researchers from the gastroenterology department at Tampere University Hospital and School of Medicine in Finland looked at 3,031 individuals who were related to someone with celiac disease, but didn't show any symptoms of the digestive condition themselves. The group was then narrowed down to 40 people — picking individuals who might have a sensitivity to gluten based on the results of an antibody test. By random selection, these 40 participants were either kept to their normal diet or were put on a gluten-free diet. People on the gluten-free diet reported fewer gastrointestinal issues and also a general improvement of health than compared to those individuals who stuck to their normal diets.
Based on early analysis, researchers believe that this study supports the need for more screening and education of "at-risk" populations of celiac disease to see if they show any sensitivities to gluten though may not be classified as having celiac disease. According to the authors of the study, two million people may be carriers of celiac disease or have a sensitivity to gluten without even realizing it. At this time, routine screening of celiac disease or gluten sensitivities are not generally done in the medical field unless requested by the patient. This news comes right on the heels of another study, which finds that children born in Spring and Summer are more likely to have celiac disease.