Osteoporosis and gluten intolerance linked

March 2, 2005 in Gastrointestinal Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Osteoporosis and gluten intolerance linked

A new study claims some people develop osteoporosis, the mineral loss disease that leads to brittle bones, because their bodies cannot tolerate wheat flour.

Gluten intolerance, called celiac disease, can be treated, so the damage done by osteoporosis can be reversed in such patients.

This study indicates that as many as three to four percent of patients who have osteoporosis have the bone disease as a consequence of having celiac disease, which makes them unable to absorb normal amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

Researchers suggest blood tests be used to screen osteoporosis patients for celiac disease.  The study was based on a look at 840 patients, some of whom had osteoporosis. It found a much higher prevalence of celiac disease among those with osteoporosis than in those without it.

In the study, patients with celiac disease and osteoporosis who went on a gluten-free diet for one year were able to improve both gastrointestinal symptoms and bone density.  While there is a genetic predisposition for celiac disease, many people don't develop symptoms until later in life.

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