The Anonymous Widower

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

As a coeliac, I have been worried about the Covids and researching the statistics for some months.

Who Are Likely To Be Coeliac?

In the next sub-sections, I look at various groups.

Ashkenazi Jews

I am coeliac because there is an unbroken genetic line to my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert, who was a Jewish tailor from Königsberg  in East Prussia. Census records in the UK, say that he arrived around 1800 and setup business in Bexley. Like many Jews from East Prussia, he had to leave, when he became eighteen, because he was male, Jewish and not one of the privileged families.

I know little of him, except from a brief chat from my father, whose own grandfather had met him as a child and remembered him, as a small elderly man, who didn’t speak any English.

I did get some more details of the Jewish community in East Prussia from a curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and I don’t think she was proud at her countrymen’s treatment of the Jews before the Second World War. By the 1930s many had fled to the UK or the United States.

Wikipedia has a detailed History of the Jews in Königsberg.

In May this year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, I wrote Jews In The UK And COVID-19, which is based on three articles in the Times of Israel.

This is an extract from my post.

I am also fairly sure, that my coeliac disease came from my Ashkenazi Jewish genes.

This second article on The Times of Israel is entitled Jewish Charity Warns Of Coeliac ‘Stigma’ As Half-A-Million Said Undiagnosed.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A Jewish charity says there is a “stigma” surrounding coeliac disease in the Jewish community, after a national charity warned that there were still half a million people in the UK who are undiagnosed.

I would assume that the half-a-million figure refers to all the population of the UK, as there are only about half that number of Jews in the UK.

Could coeliac stigma mean that there many older Jews, who are coeliac, have not been diagnosed and their poorer immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19?

In the post, I also came to this conclusion.

I should say, that I’m no medic, but just a humble engineer, mathematician and statistician, who has nearly sixty years experience of analysing data.

That experience applied to coeliac disease and COVID-19, says that undiagnosed coeliac disease, is not helping our fight against COVID-19!

I stand by that statement today.

The Elderly

I suppose at seventy-three, I’m in this group too!

In April this year I wrote A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, where this was the conclusion.

Many of those 120,000 coeliacs will have been born before 1960 and have a high probably of not having been diagnosed. for the simple reason, that a childhood test for coeliac disease didn’t exist.

Will these undiagnosed coeliacs have a compromised immune system, that makes them  more susceptible to Covid-19?

It has been said, that a good immune system helps you fight Covid-19!

I heard today of an 85-year-old coeliac, who was diagnosed at forty and is bright as a button on a gluten-free diet. They have already had their jab. Excellent!

The Irish

As with the Ashkenazi Jews, the Irish have suffered bad living conditions and famine and they seem to have more than their fair share of coeliac disease.

Black People With Slaves As Ancestors

In the last thirty years or so, I have come across three or four West Africans with coeliac disease, including one, who was an excellent chef in a pub, near where I lived at the time. I also met an American vet online called DogtorJ, who wrote this paper on his web site, which is entitled Why Is The Plane Of Our Nation’s Health In A Death Spiral? He was referring to the United States, but a lot of the points he makes can equally apply to the UK and other nations.

In one section he talks about the historical atrocity of the slave trade from a medical perspective, where he says this.

I read in one source that approximately 6% of the slaves never made it to their destinations, many of whom died of dysentery. It suddenly dawned on me that they could have easily been the newest batch of gluten intolerants. These transplanted people had never eaten wheat-based foods in the past and yet here they were, under the worst possible conditions, having this new dietary challenge suddenly thrust upon them in the form of the white man’s bread.

DogtorJ’s reasoning applies to Afro-Americans, but it could surely apply to all slaves and their descendants, just as one coeliac ancestor passed me the disease.

People From The Indian Sub-Continent

I always thought that the Indian Sub-Continent was fairly free of coeliac disease, as Indian cuisine is rice-based and I’ve had many excellent gluten-free meals in Indian restaurants all over the UK.

But then I found this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

I wrote about the article in Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

I finished with these sentences.

What do I know? I’m just an engineer and a coeliac who has a good nose for problems!

But please someone! Research the connection between undiagnosed coeliac disease and COVID-19!

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac with a gluten-rich and smoky lifestyle. He died at just 37 from pancreatic cancer.

Did he have a poor immune system, which meant he couldn’t fight the cancer? One expert on cancer said, “Yes!”

Are people from the sub-continent suffering from the same problems, that slaves did several centuries ago?

Research From The University Of Padua

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

It should be remembered, that Joe West of Nottingham University has shown, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25% lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

I shall be carrying on with my gluten-free diet, as the respected University of Padua found no problems in doing so!

A Small Piece Of Research

If you are on a gluten-free diet or you are a coeliac, you might like to fill in my poll, if you haven’t suffered from the Covids.


December 23, 2020 - Posted by | Health | , , , , , , ,


  1. The Jewish link is interesting. From Ancestry DNA I know that I have Eastern European Ashkenazi ancestors and also Ethiopian Sephardic Jewish ancestors – probably tribe of Dan apparently because that Tribe went to Ethiopia, so knowledgeable Jewish friends have told me. These two sets of ancestors are in the distant past, many many generations beyond the generation they give you names for. There are however a fair sprinkling of people with Jewish surnames in list “of up to 8th cousins”. I put that I am self diagnoses coeliac because of the way I was diagnosed. I went to GP with what I thought was IBS, but was scared was ulcerative colitis, which my father had. GP said cut out gluten from your diet, it might help. I did, from that onwards. And joined your group. After nearly a year, I happened to mention to another GP that it had made a massive difference, and she sent off a blood test. Came back negative, but by then I knew you had to eat gluten before they did the test. And I discovered how many of my generation on my father’s side of the family had diagnosis of coeliac disease. After I had sepsis, so about 5 years ago, I had a lot of discomfort in my gut, due to the antibiotics I had had over a period of a couple of m months, sometimes 3 or 4 different high dose ones at a time. My colon looking healthy (I watched it on the screen with great interest) and the gastroenterologist said that there was no particular sign of coeliac disease, but also said that with being gluten free for so long – we were at about 12 years I think – there wouldn’t necessarily be any sign if I was strictly GF. Like you, I am very strictly GF. I don’t understand the people who “cheat”. However, all the various tests they did showed that I have congenital pancreatic insufficiency – since birth of course. And my vitamin D levels were abysmal, 75% lower than the lowest end of normal. In Stockport GPs cannot request Vitamin D tests, or couldnt back then. I was immediately started on a loading dose, and it is now ok-ish, I take 400 uu daily now. They had tested my B12 and I was told it was “within normal range” and then I had Christie test it – 203 on a scale that goes from 200 to 900. I have vitamin B12 injections now. And I take orally the enzymes which my pancreas isn’t producing in sufficient volume. Early onset T2 is linked to that as well – a lot of people in my mother’s side of the family have been diagnosed with T2 at a young age; I knew that and was tested regularly, and my diabetic control is very good say my doctors.

    I suspect my father’s UC may have been coeliac – the treatment for UC didnt work terribly well, and as it was preventing his cardiac medication being absorbed he had an ileostomy. But still needed to be careful what he ate, And the cousins and other relatives who are coeliac, are all the same branch in my dad’s family.

    Sorry, this has turned into an essay; I am finding this is quite common since lockdown! I am hoping to get the vaccine soon, and then after 5 weeks I will be able to go out a little bit more.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | December 24, 2020 | Reply

    • You should read DogtorJ’s web site. The link is on this page. He’s a vet, who happens to be coeliac. It’s fascinating stuff!

      Comment by AnonW | December 24, 2020 | Reply

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