Digestive disorders, poor assimilation of nutrients … the immune system of people intolerant to gluten produces specific antibodies that affect the lining of their small intestine.

The prevalence of the disease continues to increase in European countries (1 in 100 people affected on average), but according to a recent study, a diet rich in fiber during pregnancy could reduce the risk of developing celiac disease in their future child.

Gluten intolerance: eating fiber during pregnancy reduces the risk for the baby

Norwegian researchers have examined the existence of a link between fiber intake during pregnancy and celiac disease in children.

The study in question analysed the data of nearly 90,000 mother-child pairs over a period of about 10 years. Young mothers were asked to consume different amounts of fiber during pregnancy. The researchers found that mothers who consumed more fiber (more than 45 grams a day) were 34% less likely to pass on celiac disease to their children than those who consumed the least amount of fiber (less than 19 grams per day).

Gluten intolerance: eating fiber during pregnancy reduces the risk for the baby

In total, celiac disease was diagnosed in 982 young participants, or 1.1% of the subjects followed. An increase of 10 grams in the mother’s daily fiber intake reduced the risk of celiac disease in children by 8%. Furthermore, fiber consumption from fruit and vegetables, rather than from cereals, has been associated with a lower risk of gluten intolerance.

For researchers, this correlation is due to the fact that the fibers have an influence on the bacteria present in the intestinal flora. Regular consumption during pregnancy therefore affects the child’s microbiome. As the researchers explain, this research is still in the preliminary stages. Further studies are needed to truly understand this mechanism.

“We cannot yet recommend specific dietary measures during pregnancy to prevent celiac disease, and this needs further study,” says Dr. Ketil Størdal, lead author of the study, professor-researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and pediatric gastroenterologist of the ‘Ostfold Hospital Trust in Norway .

Regarding gluten intake in the mother’s diet, experts have not observed a link with the onset of celiac disease in children. “Our results do not support the limitation of gluten for pregnant women,” says Dr. Størdal in a note.

As a reminder, it is recommended that pregnant women consume between 25 and 30 g of fiber per day to meet their daily needs.