More Research Needed on Celiac Disease in Type 1 Diabetes

(HealthDay News) — More research is needed to fully understand the correlation between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, as well as the effects of a gluten-free diet, according to a review published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Noting that there is an association between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, Maureen M. Leonard, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine management of celiac disease among patients with type 1 diabetes, as well as the potential benefits associated with a gluten-free diet.

The researchers note that initiation of a gluten-free diet is not associated with improved glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes and newly diagnosed with celiac disease. 

Evidence to support a beneficial role for a gluten-free diet in improving type 1 diabetes-associated long-term complications is controversial. The gluten-free diet is expensive, and adherence is poor in patients with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, compared to those with celiac disease alone. 

Furthermore, gluten-free foods may have a higher glycemic index; recent studies have found no significant difference in glycemic index between gluten-free and non-gluten-free diets.

“There is still much to be learned about the relationship between celiac disease and [type 1 diabetes],” the researchers wrote. “Although the benefit of a gluten-free diet in patients with classic and subclinical celiac disease is strong, the role of gluten-free diet in potential celiac disease or in general in patients with [type 1 diabetes] is unknown.”


  1. Leonard MM et al. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2014;doi:10.1111/dom.12310.