We all know that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are insidious creatures with far-reaching consequences for our health. We are warned that letting our gluten issues go untreated (by a gluten-free diet) can lead to anything and everything from cancer to osteoporosis to depression.
Scarily enough, a new study indicates that the effects of maintaining a gluten-full diet for people who should be avoiding gluten can be even more far reaching than that. In a nutshell, according to PsychCentral:
Babies whose mothers had abnormally high levels of antibodies to the wheat protein gluten had almost double the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, compared to children with normal levels of gluten antibodies.
The study comes out of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, and examined the records of 764 birth records / blood samples of Swedish babies born between 1975 and 1985. The samples were tested for IgG antibodies to milk and wheat; because antibodies are shared between mother and unborn child, high IgG levels in the child indicate a sensitivity in the mother.
Of the 764 babies, about 211 (approximately 25%) developed some form of non-affective psychosis, for example schizophrenia. The babies whose mothers had high levels of antibodies to wheat were more at risk — almost by double — of developing schizophrenia.
Researchers were careful to note that they found a link, and not necessarily a causation. This particular study was published in The American Journal of Psychiatry; follow-up studies are being planned, and we’ll of course continue to keep you posted.