How Celiac Disease and Osteoporosis Are Linked

For the longest time, celiac disease (an intestinal disorder caused by an intolerance to gluten) was believed to be a very rare condition, found in as few as one in 5,000 people. As short as five years ago, however, I posted a study that showed one in 33 people have celiac disease. And more recently, scientists have found the presence of celiac disease can increase one's risk of schizophrenia too.

Researchers at Washington University discovered the rate of celiac disease is significantly higher in patients who suffer from osteoporosis than those who didn't. Through blood tests and endoscopic intestinal biopsies on some 850 patients (including close to a third who had osteoporosis), scientists found 9 osteoporosis patients also had celiac disease compared to only 1 of the 574 patients who didn't.

Moreover, researchers estimate as many as 4 percent of patients suffer from osteoporosis as a direct result of celiac disease, which makes them unable to absorb normal amounts of calcium and vitamin D. The healthy and inexpensive regimen scientists used to treat both conditions successfully was the same thing I recommend to patients on my Web site: a gluten-free diet.

Most people don't realize that there are many reactions to wheat, aside from celiac disease, that can cause health problems. Most of us are addicted to breads, bagels, pizza, pasta, waffles and pancakes and would rather die than give them up. And many people do just that, which is why I so strongly recommend that you eliminate grains as well as sugars from your diet.

Archives of Internal Medicine Vol. 165 No. 4, February 28, 2005, 393-399

EurekAlert February 28, 2005

Yahoo News March 1, 2005

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