March 23, 2023 – Research from Cleveland Clinic shows the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals who have celiac disease.
For those unfamiliar, celiac disease causes problems in your digestive system when you eat gluten – which is a protein found in wheat and other grains.
It’s more serious than a normal food intolerance.
“In the study, we looked at the possibility of complications in celiac disease when they get infected by COVID-19,” explained Alberto Rubio Tapia, MD, gastroenterologist for Cleveland Clinic. “And what we found was that the risk of hospital admission was increased in patients with celiac disease and COVID-19 infection, as compared to patients without celiac disease.”
Dr. Tapia, who was the lead researcher, said they also discovered that the risk for hospital and ICU admission, along with death, was reduced if the person had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
So, why is celiac disease associated with a higher risk for complications?
Dr. Tapia said it’s already been proven that people with celiac disease are at a higher risk for viral infections, which is likely why they are also at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.
And while COVID-19 may not be as widespread as it was before, he said it’s still important for people to keep up with their vaccinations.
He also notes that their research is still far from over.
“So the next step with this research is looking at celiac disease and the potential risk for long-COVID, meaning after the patient recovers from an acute infection with COVID-19, we want to know if there is an increased risk of sequelae – like chronic cough, fatigue and others,” he said.
Dr. Tapia said celiac disease is currently under-diagnosed here in the United States, so if you believe you may be experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to consult with your physician.
There are treatment options available.