Gluten intake in women without celiac disease was not found to influence microscopic colitis risk, according to a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

A team of researchers conducted a prospective study of participants (n = 160,744) without celiac disease who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II to determine if gluten consumption was linked to the risk of microscopic colitis in individuals without celiac disease.

The investigators obtained dietary gluten intake information from food frequency questionnaires completed every 4 years; medical records were reviewed for microscopic colitis diagnoses.

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A total of 219 incident cases of microscopic colitis over 3,716,718 person-years of follow-up were reported: 105 of the cases were collagenous and 103 were lymphocytic colitis (11 cases were not confirmed).

The association between dietary gluten intake and microscopic colitis was insignificant. Women in the lowest quintile of energy-adjusted gluten intake were compared with women in the highest and middle quintiles for risk of microscopic colitis: multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios were 1.03 and 1.18, respectively.

Further adjustments for primary gluten dietary sources did not significantly alter values, and the null association according to lymphocytic or collagenous subtypes did not differ and was not altered by age, smoking status, or body mass index.

“In summary, we found no association between dietary gluten intake during adulthood and risk of microscopic colitis in [2] large, prospective cohorts of US women without celiac disease,” the authors concluded. “Together with prior studies, these data provide compelling evidence that microscopic colitis is largely not a gluten-induced disorder.”


Liu P-H, Lebwohl B, Burke KE, et al. Dietary gluten intake and risk of microscopic colitis among US women without celiac disease: a prospective cohort study [published online September 4, 2018]. Am J Gastroentrol. doi:10.1038/s41395-018-0267-5