The lack of scientific data about inadvertent gluten exposure led to this research that followed 105 newly diagnosed celiac patients over six months. The study involved researchers from Winnipeg, Manitoba and the Harvard Medical School Celiac Research Program.
Their findings, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, show that 66 per cent of the patients suspected they’d had a recent reaction to gluten with symptoms that ranged from headaches to fatigue and diarrhea. The gluten exposures were unexpected and accidental. On average, the new celiac patients’ symptoms came on about one hour after exposure.
New Celiac Patients and Restaurants
The biggest risk factor was one the patients had the least control over: eating food that had been prepared by others, either in a restaurant or in someone else’s home.
“In such instances, there may be less clear information and less control over ingredients and preparation, which means it is quite possible that this may not improve with time and experience,” says Dr. Jocelyn Silvester, one of the study authors whose with the University of Manitoba.
She says the research highlights the need for better tools to know whether a food contains gluten, or if a patient has consumed gluten.
Researchers will continue to follow these patients to see if time and experience with the gluten-free diet leads to fewer incidents of accidental gluten exposure.