I just watched a video of a doctor talking about a recent case of a child with type 1 diabetes that has caught my attention.

After watching the video I looked for more information and I found the study published in PubMed on June 21, 2012 that reports about this case.

type1 diabetes and gluten free dietIt is the case of a 6 years old child who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Although he was also checked against celiac disease, to see if he was allergic or intolerant to gluten (since type 1 diabetes and celiac disease are related), the results were negative. That is, he was not celiac.

Even knowing that, two or three weeks after diagnosis he began a gluten free diet that allowed him to go without needing insulin.

At the beginning of the gluten-free diet, his HbA1c was 7.8% and stabilized at 5.8% -6% without insulin. His fasting blood glucose was maintained between 72-90 mg/dl. At 16 months after diagnosis, his fasting glucose was 73 mg/dl. After 20 months insulin hasn’t been needed.

The gluten-free diet was safe and without side effects.

The authors of this study suggest that the gluten-free diet prolonged remission in this patient with type 1 diabetes and that more studies should be done.

Concerning the question in the title of this article, I guess I should probably say that a gluten free diet does not cure type 1 diabetes in all people. Both diseases (celiac disease and T1 diabetes) are autoimmune diseases and it is known that autoimmune diseases have in common problems in the small intestine that allow certain substances to get out into the blood, prompting the immune system to enter an auto-destructive mode, attacking its own cells.

But the importance of this study shows, even being just one single case, that it may be really worth it to try it as soon as the disease is diagnosed. Of course, it must be done carefully, if possible with the guide of the doctor, good control of blood glucose to see if it’s enough just removing gluten or not.

In my case, I was diagnosed gluten intolerance (not celiac disease, “just” gluten intolerance) a few months ago, and the switch to a gluten-free diet didn’t change my need of insulin, probably because after almost 15 years with T1 diabetes my body got used to insulin. What I did notice though is that I needed a little less insulin.

I can assure you, that if it was not hard enough the diabetes diet, now also having to watch if it contains gluten or not, it is no fun. On the other hand, there are now many gluten-free products available, if you want to keep eating those types of carbohydrates.

What I see is that my body is telling me louder and clearer that these types of carbohydrates doesn’t make any good to my body: first T1 diabetes, now gluten intolerance… If I listen to my body, it becomes clear that I have to change something in my diet. And I did, but I will tell you about that another day.

In this post, I just wanted to recommend, especially to parents with children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, to try to eliminate gluten from the diet, in collaboration with the physician or dietitian/nutritionist, because that perhaps could save a few children of relying on insulin (even if only for 20 months it would be worth it).

Below you can find the video in case you want to watch it. And if you know parents of children in this situation, you could do them a big favor by sending them this post.

Do you have any other experience as type 1 diabetic with gluten intolerance or celiac disease?

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