Celiac Disease updated 11/2019


A Latest Research News - A private Australian firm (ImmusanT) announced that it has initiated a Phase2 human clinical trial in Australia and the US for Nexvax2 a therapeutic vaccine that reprograms T-cells to stop responding defensively when gluten is present. This disease modifying treatment returns the small intestine to a healthy state allowing patients to resume a healthy normal diet. For additional info see: www.clinicaltrials.gov (Identifier: NCT03644069)

Let’s explore what Celiac Disease(CD)  is and how it’s connected to brittle diabetes.

Here are some signs that appear to indicate that a Type1 Diabetic may have Celiac Disease (CD):

  • Exhibiting brittleness – the unstable, uncontrollable and unpredictable shift in BG levels resulting in multiple episodes of unexplained lows and highs in blood glucose;

  • The tendency to exhibit hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels) two hours after a meal;

  • Diagnosis of gastroparesis – delayed stomach emptying;

  • A slow growth rate with below average height and weight for youngsters in a particular age group; and finally,

  • Unresponsive hypoglycemic events – difficulty in reversing the downward BG trend, sometimes spoken of as having a “down day”.

If a T1D exhibits any of the above symptoms, a series of blood tests to determine the presence of Celiac Disease antibodies should be run. If positive, a tissue biopsy of the intestinal wall is considered the most reliable form of diagnosis.


CELIAC DISEASE is an autoimmune response to the consumption of gluten, a protein found in a variety of grains; oats, barley, wheat and rye. It also extends to the use of cosmetics and medicinal products containing these compounds. Gluten serves as a trigger causing T cells, part of the body’s defense mechanism, to attack the lining of the intestinal wall. This attack damages the villi, hair like extensions used for absorption of nutrients, that line the small intestine. This results in malabsorption (nutrients not being absorbed properly) leading to a variety of medical issues. Symptoms vary from person to person and can range from asymptomatic to severe. Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, gas, bloating, foul smelling fatty stools; Weight loss, excessive weakness; bone joint pain, skin rash, and depression. In children- failure to grow, lower height and weight than expected for one’s age, and delayed puberty are the result.


In the case of a type 1 diabetic with CD, this erratic absorption of digested food can lead to unexplained hypoglycemic events. If CD goes undiagnosed in a T1D, it may contribute to the development of unstable blood glucose levels reflective of brittleness, the link between these two diseases.  It is therefore important for T1D’s to be evaluated for CD and if found gluten sensitive treated with a Gluten Free diet to help them achieve better BG control.

Unlike T1D for which there is no cure, elimination of gluten from one’s diet allows the intestine to return to near normal healthy levels and elimination or reversal of CD symptoms.


Diagnostic CD Blood tests may prove initially negative for CD antibodies in early diagnosis of Brittle patients and become positive for these antibodies at a later stage. As a result, the recommendation is that T1D patients be tested for CD, every one to three years.


Another link between these two diseases rests in genetics.  Since the genes for both T1D and CD are found in close proximity on the same chromosome, there is a good chance that both will be transferred (inherited) together. It is therefore not surprising to see that both are considered inherited diseases that “run” in a family.  It has been established that upwards of 11% of T1D’s either have or will have celiac disease at some time.