Doctors know that people with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk for celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten found in wheat. Now, a study suggests that wheat causes problems other than celiac disease in people with diabetes. Canadian researchers who studied 42 people with type 1 found that nearly half had an abnormal immune response to wheat proteins, while none of the 22 participants without diabetes had such a reaction. When the researchers looked for a genetic cause of the immune cell overreaction, they found that it was linked to a gene associated with type 1 diabetes—but not related to a gene associated with celiac disease. According to the study’s authors, people with certain genes may be more likely to have an exaggerated immune reaction to foods like wheat, and this may spur other immune problems, like diabetes.
Source: Diabetes, August 2009