A case-control study, published in the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences (2017 Mar 15;5(1):58-63. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2017.026. Epub 2017 Feb) looked into a possible connection between gluten sensitivity and congenital heart disease. It looked at age-dependent serum levels of antigliadin antibodies among malnourished Egyptian infants with congenital heart disease (CHD) and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The subjects of the study were 60 infants with congenital heart disease. They were subdivided into cyanotic and acyanotic groups (30 in each group). ,They were compared to a control group of healthy infants of matched age, sex, and social class. Serum antigliadin antibodies levels were measured using ELISA.

When compared to controls, patients with CHD showed highly significant higher serum levels of antigliadin antibodies. The researchers found that the age of onset of gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and distension were associated with high serum antigliadin antibodies among malnourished CHD infants with a prediction of 95%.

The authors concluded, ” Serum IgA, IgM, and IgG class antibodies to gliadin play a significant role in the pathogenesis of malnutrition in infants with CHD. Gluten containing foods should never be introduced before the end of the six months.”