By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Could the season in which someone is born be a factor in whether or not they develop celiac disease? Recent research suggests, possibly.

Scientists and researchers are always searching for new reasons for why the disease is triggered in some people and not others. An interesting article in the New York Times recently stated extremely eye-catching information:

“One hypothesis is that the season in which a person is born may influence the development of this digestive disorder (celiac disease)”

Some research suggests that babies born in spring and summer could be more susceptible to developing celiac disease.

But how could when we are born possibly be relevant to whether or not we develop celiac disease?

What if early exposure to infections plays a role in the body’s autoimmune response to gluten? Babies tend to start eating gluten containing foods at around 6 months old meaning that babies born in spring and summer would be first exposed to gluten in the winter, when cold and flu viruses are most common.

There have been a few other studies that backup this possibility. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children studied 2,000 people with confirmed celiac disease and found that more of them were born in spring than any other season.

A similar study in Sweden, which looked at over 2000 children with celiac disease, found that for children under the age of two at diagnosis, “the risk for celiac disease was significantly higher if born during the summer as compared with the winter.”

Interestingly studies have suggested that Type 1 diabetes, another autoimmune disorder, may also be triggered by viral infections.

Whether or not we have the genes necessary to develop celiac disease is obviously a huge factor but could when we were born affect our chances if we do have the celiac genes?

I’m celiac and I was born in the winter so in my case these conclusions don’t fit but perhaps I’m the odd one out. In which season were you born?