The Type 1 Diabetes Wheat Link

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The Type 1 Diabetes Wheat LinkThe Type 1 Diabetes Wheat Link: Research partially funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) suggests a possible link between the consumption of wheat products and the development of Type 1 diabetes in certain individuals.

According to, “Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa have discovered what may be an important clue to the cause of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Fraser Scott and his team tested 42 people with type 1 diabetes and found that nearly half had an abnormal immune response to wheat proteins.”

Wheat protein is a staple in an American diet. It can be found in virtually all baked goods and has traditionally been thought of as healthy for all consumers. However, in the case of this study there is something else going on within the body of the potential Type 1 diabetic to indicate oncoming danger.

Dr. Scott, a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa said, “The immune system has to find the perfect balance to defend the body against foreign invaders without hurting itself or over-reacting to the environment and this can be particularly challenging in the gut, where there is an abundance of food and bacteria. Our research suggests that people with certain genes may be more likely to develop an over-reaction to wheat and possibly other foods in the gut and this may tip the balance with the immune system and make the body more likely to develop other immune problems, such as type 1 diabetes.”

Science Daily also indicated Dr. Mikael Knip of Finland reiterated the findings by saying, “These observations add to the accumulating concept that the gut is an active player in the diabetes disease process.”

It is estimated that between 15-25 million individuals have Type 1 diabetes. This figure represents less than 10% of all diabetic cases. Type 1 is describes as the most severe type of diabetes simply because the pancreas is attacked from within rendering is essentially useless in producing insulin the body needs to regulate blood glucose levels.

In explaining the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes reports, “Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.”

The news about a possible link to wheat may have many parents considering the potential of eliminating the food item from their children’s diet. After all allergic reaction to wheat can coincide with the onset of Type 1 diabetes.  Research suggests other autoimmune disease may also be linked to wheat such as celiac disease.

Previous studies do indicate that a wheat-free diet can reduce the risk for the development of Type 1 diabetes in animal studies. The problem is it can be almost impossible to assure a diet completely devoid of wheat, but there’s another reason not to go overboard. Dr. Scott explains, “It’s impossible to predict who will develop diabetes — 90 per cent of people who develop Type 1 diabetes don’t have a relative with Type 1.”

For up to date information on proper nutrition for Type 1 diabetics always visit with your heath care provider.

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