Gluten Is a natural vegetable protein contained in the grains of cereals such as wheat, oats, barley and rye. Another name for gluten is gluten (gluten in Latin means glue), thanks to this substance, the flour dissolved by water becomes elastic and elastic, turns into a dough and gives splendor to the finished bakery products.
Since gluten is a part of the main cereals, it is naturally present in all products produced on their basis, including baby food.
Why is gluten harmful to children?
The human body in general is little adapted to digesting the grain, and gluten (or rather its component gliadin) is perceived by the immune system of a sufficient number of people, like a foreign organism, from which it is necessary to get rid quickly. In order to digest and assimilate gluten, a special enzyme is required that is not available in children at an early age. Up to 8 months (and sometimes later), the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract of children is not able to cope with gluten, which is practically not affected by stomach acids.
It has pronounced gluing properties, in non-split form gluten is a strong allergen and acts as a toxin, reducing intestinal permeability and significantly worsening digestion.
Therefore, the first cereal for babies should be used gluten-free products, which include buckwheat, rice and corn. For children 5-6 months of life, only these cereals can be part of the adapted milk formulas and other children's products. Milk mixtures with the addition of oats, wheat, semolina contain gluten, as well as cookies, breadcrumbs, bread (everything that is made from wheat and rye flour). Such foods are not even worth trying for children under 6 months.
Introduce in the diet of a child containing gluten products should be in small portions, starting with a small slice or half a teaspoon, gradually bringing the volume of the eaten product to normal, and carefully watching the baby's reaction to gluten. If, after the introduction of a new product with gluten, the child has an allergy in the form of a skin rash or digestion has disrupted, it is necessary to postpone the beginning of complementary feeding for 2-4 weeks. If, after eating a new dish, the child has a skin rash, increased gas production, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and appetite decreased and the child began to lose weight, you should stop taking such foods. They should not be given to a child until the pediatrician performs a full examination and excludes celiac disease, a pathology associated with congenital gluten intolerance. By the way, the child's response to the use of foods with gluten should be noted constantly, as celiac disease often appears after a two-year age. Do not forget that gluten intolerance can be acquired (it often develops after intestinal infections), and not just congenital.
The diagnosis of celiac disease
There is a category of children for whom gluten is a toxic substance that is contraindicated throughout life. This is not just an allergic reaction to products with it, but a specific hereditary disease - celiac disease. In the digestive tract of such a child, gluten causes atrophy of the villi of the intestine, as a result of which vitamins, minerals, all nutrients are extremely poorly absorbed into the walls of the intestine, and hence into the blood. As a result, a sick child does not receive from the food all the most necessary for his body, and ordinary carbohydrates, proteins and fats become a poison for him.
Symptoms of celiac disease can be very diverse. In children under the age of two, the disease manifests itself by bloating, diarrhea, exhaustion, a general lag in growth and development. The disease can progress, while the thin mucous membrane of the child becomes thinner even more. Drugs for this disease does not exist. Celiac disease requires strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, and it will take a lifetime to comply with such a diet.