Is Celiac Status Affected by Birth Month?

Can Zoltar predict whether or not your child will be celiac? Maybe.

File this one under, “really now?”

A small, preliminary study done at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children suggests that the month in which a child is born may affect their odds of becoming celiac.

Before you go about planning your next child, however, let’s take a closer look at the study. It’s worth noting that the study has not yet been published in a peer-review journal or confirmed by other similar studies, according to doctorslounge.com.

Taken at its highest level, the study indicates that children currently younger than 15 and born in the “light months” of March through August are slightly more likely to be celiac.

The study looked at 382 children from Massachusetts, all of whom were previously diagnosed with celiac disease. Amongst children aged 15-19 (of which there were 65), birth season didn’t seem to matter. Amongst the 317 children younger than 15, 57% were born in March through August.

Now, even though there are 12 months in the year, it’s not as if the population is evenly split between them. There are more children born during the summer, especially August – so it’s not surprising that there would be more celiacs born then as well. It’s possible that the study controlled for this, but there’s no discussion about it in the review.

If in fact the study holds up to additional scrutiny, it could point to different guidelines for when gluten is introduced to the diet based on birth month. But, since we don’t actually have concrete, widely-accepted guidelines for when to introduce gluten in the first place, it seems that any sort of meaningful guidance is a few years away.

Let’s just take a little study of our own, shall we? If you yourself are celiac, when were you born? If you have celiac children, or know the birthdays of any other celiacs, when were they born? And are they younger or older than 15?

I’ll go first: September, and older than 15.


32 thoughts on “Is Celiac Status Affected by Birth Month?”

  1. Today happens to be my birthday and I am way way older than 15. My kids are January and February and, to the best of my knowledge, do not have celiac but my understanding is that the tests are not accurate at their age (both tested at under 5).

    My sister was born in March and had a positive blood test. Also older than 15.

  2. Hmmmm. Not sure about this, but it’s interesting. My husband was diagnosed with celiac at age 37. His birthday is in March. His father, who also has celiac, was born in December. Our children never went through the biopsies but were found to be reacting to gluten (we say gluten sensitive) and birthdays are in January and July. My birthday is in September, and I’m also gluten sensitive/intolerant but didn’t go through biopsy to get an official celiac diagnosis. (A test showing I was reacting was enough for me!)

  3. I call BS. The study sounds sketchy to me, especially if they didn’t discuss their controls. But anyway, here’s some anecdotal evidence to contradict their anecdotal evidence: I’m biopsy-confirmed celiac, born in January, much more than 15 years ago.

  4. 30, Biopsy confirmed Celiac, May, no kids yet-but if I do have them-I will have them tested for the gene as early as possible.

  5. Study doesn’t seem very scientific but I fell into the “light month” hypothesis. Gluten Intolerant, also have MS and Fibro. Born in June will be 42 this year.

  6. That study was the biggest waste of money done in the name of celiac research. Anyone with any common sense knows it’s genetic and you either have the gene or genes ( there are 8 or 9 identified) or not. This does not mean you’ll have celiac, just that you may. What month you were born has no bearing whatsoever.

  7. Born in Augand have celiac. Daughter with celiac born last of July, Granddaughter born in Aug showing some systems. All over 15 years of age.
    Donna

  8. I’m older than 15 and born in March
    I also have an older than 15 Celiac daughter who was born in May
    2- maybe 3 suspected cases in my children younger than 15, born in March, May and July.

  9. Waaay over 15, born in March, biopsy confirmed celiac. Very weird results – perhaps weird science? unscientific study?? Interesting, though.

  10. My son Kevin, 14, celiac diagnosis ten years ago with biopsy. His birthday is in April so he falls within the “light months”. Interesting.

  11. funny, you don’t cross reference the scandinavian study that has been widely discussed on celiac.com and elsewhere. Their theory goes like this:
    Kid who were born in light months were more likely to have first gluten in dark months (ie most kids get gluten starting at 4-6 months of age). They either surmised or concluded that it had to do with vit D levels in the child during first ingestion of gluten. Therefore if you were born in light month, consumed first gluten in dark month (your vit D level was low at first ingestion) then you were more susceptible to the development of celiac (I believe all in the study had the gene). I believe this is the cite: Vitamin D Preserves the Intestinal Mucosal Barrier Roy S. Jamron http://www.celiac.com/articles/21476/

  12. oh and btw, my kids and husband are all confirmed celiac (genetic testing and blood testing) kids are ages 9 and 12 and may and june bday, hubby 44 and aug bday.

  13. I call BS too….

    But my celiac daughter is over 15 and is a July baby…….

    her father, mother and sister are all negative (Dec, June and March)…..

  14. daughter under 15, born in Oct.
    Couple this info. with the Chinese belief that conception in certain months results in a specific sex of the baby and we’ll have a new form of birth control as everyone stands around scratching their heads wondering if it’s a good time to conceive or not.

  15. I’m a June baby. Well over 15 – found to be gluten-intolerant at 40.

    Friend who is celiac is also a June baby, and was diagnosed at 38 or 39.

    Young celiac friend is ALSO a June baby, diagnosed at 15.

    Interesting coincidences.

  16. I think I will file this under coincedence… but I was born in April. I was diagnosed at 30, over 10 years ago. My mother, born in March, was diagnosed at 50.

  17. age 44, female and born in January celiac with DH confirmed by biopsies and blood tests. Mom born in February – no biopsy but had the DH rash that cleared with GF diet.

  18. My Celiac daughter is younger than 15 and born in February. Could the study vary by location. We live in Southern California. Just wondering. Thanks for the great articles and information.

  19. I am way over 15, diagnosed at 65, born in July, nephew diagnosed about 5 and is now over 15 – birthday in March. None of my brothers and sisters seem to have it or have it yet – birthdays – Sept, Oct, Dec.

  20. My family has more than it’s share of us with celiac disease or the related disorders. I am 59, born Jan 8, 1952; my Dad who is 77 was born May 19, 1934; twin granddaughters age 11 born Jan 27, 2000…we all have full blown cd. My brother born on Oct 17, 1964 and another granddaugher age 12 born Feb 16, 1999 have dermatitis herpeteformis; my Dad, my daughter age 33 born Jan 29, 1978 and a grandson age 14 born Sept 16, 1997 are lactose intolerant…my family is very small in stature (grandma 4’10” and Dad 5’4″)…my Dad’s sister died at age 42, born July 8 1928, probably from cd related disorders.

  21. Born in mid-February and gluten intolerant; diagnosed at 51. (Also hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s.) 26-year-old son born on March has sensitivity to dairy and has ADD; has not been tested for gluten. 22-year-old son born in October only has a reaction to scallops. All born and raised in the Midwest.

    The Swedish study was interesting because part of the testing that led to the gluten intolerance diagnosis for me also said one thing I was deficient in was Vit D.

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