The prevention of coeliac disease

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun;29(3):493-501. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 May 8.


Primary prevention of coeliac disease is currently not possible. Previously, a 'window of opportunity' was suggested for primary prevention, by introducing gluten between four and six months of age. However, results from recent prospective studies establish that the timing of gluten introduction and the duration or maintenance of breastfeeding do not influence the development of the disease. Secondary prevention is possible through early diagnosis and treatment. Since coeliac disease is severely underdiagnosed, the only way to achieve large-scale secondary prevention is by mass screening. Prospective studies indicate that important health problems, such as reduced foetal growth and birth weight, delayed growth in height and weight in children, and reduced bone mineral density in both children and adults can be prevented by mass screening. Adherence to a strict gluten-free diet may be considered as tertiary prevention.

Keywords: Breast feeding; Coeliac disease; Early nutrition; Prevention; Screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / prevention & control*
  • Humans