A gluten free diet alone does not seem to change the rate of death in those diagnosed with celiac disease according to a report by UK researchers in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
In the last ten years there has been an increase in the numbers of people being diagnosed with celiac disease. Intuitively, one would expect this increase in diagnosis to be followed by a decrease in celiac-related deaths. The idea being that earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment with gluten-free diet, and, ideally, less associated conditions and deaths. But according to this study, there has been no change in the mortality rate.
Jeffery Adams of celiac.com reported that researcher Dr. Matthew J. Grainge, of the University of Nottingham, told Reuters Health that his team "found that people with celiac disease have a 37% increase in all-cause mortality compared with the general population."
The study published at Am J Gastroenterol; January 18, 2011.revealed a significantly increased all-cause standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 1.37. This was higher for men (SMR, 1.86) than for women (SMR, 1.10). Study subjects had higher rates of death from cancer (SMR, 1.61) digestive (SMR, 2.19) and respiratory diseases (SMR, 1.57) compared to the general population. In all, there were 21 deaths from respiratory diseases, 11 of those from pneumonia.
According to the research team, this data supports current guidelines recommending pneumococcal vaccination for people with celiac disease.
In conclusion, the researchers note that the results may offer doctors "an opportunity to reduce mortality following pneumococcal infection by increasing the uptake of vaccination against this pathogen as vaccination rates are currently well below 50%."
I believe the problem lies in thinking that celiac disease is a gastroenterologic disorder more like a food allergy like being allergic to carrots.
In fact celiac/gluten sensitivity is an autoimme connective tissue disorder based on genetics and those with the genetics have tissues that have peptides in their structure that look like wheat. If one becomes allergic to wheat then the antibodies may attack the connective tissues. One is immunocompromised.
I treat people with celiac/gluten sensitivity with a grain free diet and a programme to identify already damaged connective tissues, damaged genetics such as MTHFR, hormone inbalances, infections, heavy metal toxicity and pre-cancers. And treat accordingly.
More research is necessary to determine if pneumococcal vaccination will, in fact lower the death rate.in persons with celiac disease. Other research with Hepatitis B vaccine has shown not all celiacs respond favourably to vaccination.
But in the mean time, it is an option while one works on strengthening the immune system.