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New Research: Celiac disease quadruples risk of osteoporosis

June 9, 2011 by  
Filed under News

EndocrineWeb News: For individuals who are not otherwise at risk for osteoporosis, having celiac disease puts them at more than four times the risk of developing progressive bone loss, according to a new study by researchers from the Lancaster University School of Health and Medicine.

More than 1,000 adults with celiac were tested by UK scientists who announced their findings at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, held in London from May 25-28, 2011.

“In the latest study, the team took bone mass density readings of participants’ skeletal health using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans. Researchers found that the lumbar vertebrae of individuals with celiac disease were significantly less dense than those without the condition.”

“Though all participants had no other risk factors for bone loss, the team concluded that having celiac disease boosted the likelihood of osteoporosis by a factor of four and a half, even among otherwise healthy adults.”

A 2010 report from Canada’s University of Alberta also studied a connection between celiac disease and bone health. The study found that, on average, children who do not consume gluten consume less than half the amount of vitamin K they should, as well as too little vitamin D.

“Its authors suggested that dietary supplementation may improve the nutrition of children with celiac disease, reducing their likelihood of being osteoporotic later in life.”

The previous two reports mentioned seem to assume that NOT eating gluten may be the cause of the increased risk of osteoporosis, yet in the article What People with Celiac Need to Know About Osteoporosis, The National Institutes of Health says that once people with celiac switch to a gluten free diet, their bodies begin to absorb the nutrients that they had been previously missing and seems to conclude that malabsorption of vitamins due to eating gluten is what puts those with celiac at risk.

Interesting. Which is it – caused by no gluten or caused by gluten? Either way, here are some Osteoporosis Management Strategies from The National Institutes of Health. (This is not to be construed as medical advice. Talk to your doctor about your risks, prevention and treatments.)

Nutrition: A well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Supplements can help ensure that the calcium requirement is met each day, especially in people with a proven milk allergy. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily calcium intake of 1,000 mg (milligrams) for men and women up to age 50. Women over age 50 and men over age 70 should increase their intake to 1,200 mg daily.

Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. Food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Older individuals—especially those who are housebound, live in northern climates, or use sunscreen—are often deficient in this vitamin and may need vitamin D supplements to achieve the recommended intake of 600 to 800 IU (International Units) each day.

Exercise: Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best kind of activity for your bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples include walking, climbing stairs, weight training, and dancing. These and other types of exercise also strengthen muscles that support bone, enhance balance and flexibility, and preserve joint mobility, all of which help reduce the likelihood of falling and breaking a bone, especially among older people.

Healthy lifestyle: Smoking is bad for bones as well as the heart and lungs. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause earlier, resulting in earlier reduction in levels of the bone-preserving hormone estrogen and triggering earlier bone loss. In addition, smokers may absorb less calcium from their diets. Alcohol also can have a negative effect on bone health. Those who drink heavily are more prone to bone loss and fracture, because of both poor nutrition and increased risk of falling.

Bone density test: A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures bone density in various sites of the body. This safe and painless test usually can detect osteoporosis before a fracture occurs and predict one’s chances of fracturing in the future. Adults with celiac disease should talk to their doctors about whether they might be candidates for a BMD test. The test can help determine whether medication should be considered. A BMD test also can be used to monitor the effects of an osteoporosis treatment program.

Medication: Several medications are available to prevent and treat osteoporosis, including: bisphosphonates; estrogen agonists/antagonists (also called selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMS); parathyroid hormone; estrogen therapy; hormone therapy; and a recently approved RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor.

For more information, read both complete articles here:
Celiac disease quadruples risk of osteoporosis, Endocrine Web

What People with Celiac Need to Know About Osteoporosis,
National Institutes of Health


4 Responses to “New Research: Celiac disease quadruples risk of osteoporosis”
  1. Tasha says:

    Many of the folks I know who have celiac also have a dairy or other food allergy. Did these studies also account for other food allergies and dietary restrictions that might contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiencies?

  2. Susan Viestenz says:

    I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my early 40′s and had no explanation why; I had no other gastrointestinal symptoms. Fifteen years later, an astute medical provider ordered celiac tests, and I was found to have celiac disease. I believe the osteoporosis comes from poor calcium and Vitamin D absorption, rather than from not eating gluten. My BMD’s have improved since being gluten free.

  3. Marcia Ast says:

    Osteoporosis can be easily prevented if you just take enough calcium and magnesium on your daily diet. cheese has enough calcium for your daily needs.:,`;,

    Yours truly


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