HealthDay News — For children with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the negative influence of celiac disease (CD) on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) can be improved by adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published online June 6 in Diabetes Care.

Silvana Salardi, MD, from the University of Bologna in Italy, and colleagues collected data from 13 centers for 201 children with both T1D and concurrent biopsy-proven CD, at the time point that a GFD was initiated and after one year of GFD. A control group of 224 matched patients with T1D only were also enrolled.

The researchers found that before GFD initiation, children with CD and T1D had significantly lower HDL-C values than controls, with the greatest decrease seen for children aged younger than 6 years. The mean values of HDL-C increased significantly after GFD (60.9 ± 13.7 versus 51.3 ± 13.6 mg/dL; P<0. 0001) and normalized. The increase was greater in children aged younger than 6 years than in older children (28 versus 13%). The most significant improvement of HDL-C was seen for subjects with complete adherence to GFD, while a lower improvement was seen with partial adherence.

“GFD is able to normalize HDL-C levels, and the more marked beneficial effect of gluten withdrawal can be found in individuals who adhere to the GFD and in the youngest individuals,” the authors write.

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