All that hooplah about celiac disease and gluten intolerance being full-body issues? It’s no joke. Add your kidneys to the list of organs that may thank you for going gluten-free.
A recent study published in Gut journal showed a notable link between celiac disease and renal disease. The study, conducted in Sweden, examined data from 29,050 individuals with celiac disease. The data was compared with age- and sex-matched counterparts, and whichever way it was sliced, those with celiac disease came out the losers.
The patients studied had been diagnosed between 1969 and 2008; all had received small-intestinal biopsies and registered damage at a Marsh III level. In order to qualify as having end-stage renal disease, the subjects had to have needed, “renal dialysis or renal transplant in accordance with the international classification of disease and procedure codes in Swedish patient registers.”
Within the general population, the expected number of end-stage renal disease diagnoses for a group of the same size, age and gender was 31.
The actual number? 90.
At best, celiac patients had a hazard ratio of 2.47 in terms of end-stage renal disease — which means they are 2.47 times more likely to experience the disease than the rest of the population. At worst, 3.20 — just depending on how the data got sliced. (Note: this section has been updated, thank you to commenter Melissa for pointing out our prior error.)
What does this mean for you? The same thing all of these studies mean: don’t cheat on your gluten-free diet! Remember that if you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, even if you aren’t having a “typical” reaction (or any reaction), your body is still going to react.
Sure, you might not pay for it now, or ever, but the numbers increasingly show that you probably will. And that’s no good.
For a little more info, you can check out celiac.com‘s coverage of the same study.