A preliminary experiment completed by Professor Karsten Buschard from the Bartholin Institute of Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen suggested that inducing a gluten-free diet in mice from pregnancy could help protect from later acquisition of type 1 diabetes. From this study, Buschard decided to progress the research and complete several further rounds of tests. Research was completed recently at the University of Copenhagen and progressed this hypothesis. The findings were published in the journal Diabetes and were summarized for an article completed by Science Daily.
More than one percent of the Danish population has type 1 diabetes. This is one of the highest rates in the entire world. As a result, studies on the topic in the country originate fifteen years ago, to 1999, with Professor Karsten Buschard’s hypothesis that gluten could affect chances of getting type 1 diabetes. Since 1999, several other studies have been attempted, with Buschard always working as a co-author on the topic.
In the most recent study, Buschard, along with co-authors Professor Axel Kornerup and assistant professor Camilla Hartmann, both from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Supplies, a gluten-free diet was introduced to mother mice during pregnancy. This change in diet introduced alterations to the intestinal bacteria in both the mother and her pups. Intestinal flora, which plays a major role in the development of the immune system and the development of type 1 diabetes, thrived under the lack of gluten to the diet of the mother. The preliminary tests indicate that the chances of getting type 1 diabetes are affected by a gluten-free diet in mice. From this continued finding, Hartmann believes the findings can be applied to more than just mice. She believes the introduction of a gluten-free diet during pregnancy and lactation can positively affect the patient’s chances of getting type 1 diabetes.
Further research is needed to fully confirm this finding. Unfortunately, a large-scale clinical test hasn’t been engaged in thus far. The authors of this current study hope this can be created in the near future to fully explore the potential of this standing hypothesis.