Gluten-free Diet and Osteoporosis

How does a diet void of wheat and wheat based products effect bone mass density?

 

Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease ...

Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease manifested by blunting of villi, crypt hyperplasia, and lymphocyte infiltration of crypts, consistent with Marsh classification III. Released into public domain on permission of patient. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Celiac disease is categorized as an allergic reaction to wheat and wheat based products (gluten) causing fatigue, and poor function of the digestive system. This condition is also referred to as intolerance to gluten. Patients with this diagnosis can suffer a decreased amount of physical activity, thereby increasing the potential for lower bone mass density and osteoporosis.

Recently, researchers from the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University Federico II of Naples, Italy, as well as the University Medical School in Salerno, Italy, and the Celiac Disease Center in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University in New York, collaborated on a study of gluten-free diets and exercise in female subjects with celiac disease. Two groups of female subjects with celiac disease who were following a gluten-free diet were gathered for this study. Both groups had physical activity examined, fatigue examined, and bone mineral density measurements taken.

GROUP 1

This group consisted of 48 female test subjects with celiac disease. Bone mass density was measured at the time of diagnosis, as well as TWO years after diagnosis while following a gluten-free diet.

GROUP 2

This group consisted of 47 female test subjects with celiac disease. Bone mass density was measured at the time of diagnosis, as well as FIVE years after diagnosis while following a gluten-free diet.

The test subjects in both groups were interviewed to assess their physical activity levels as well as ranked on a visual scale regarding their perception of fatigue at diagnosis of the disease and follow-up being two, or five years after diagnosis depending on the group. Information was also gathered on smoking habits, and alcohol consumption (both contributing factors to low bone mass density), as well as body mass index, gastrointestinal symptoms, and pharmaceuticals taken.

Conclusion

The two groups displayed similar results:

  • Body mass index was similar to baseline
  • Unchanged levels of physical activity
  • Significant increases in bone mineral density even with the two year group

More research is required to determine if such an affect could occur in individuals who are not gluten intolerant (people without celiac disease), however, for individuals with this condition, this research indicates tnat bone mass density can be positively affected with adherence to a gluten-free diet.

 

 

Source:

2011 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Published by Elsevier

Ltd.  doi:10.1016/j.dld.2011.12.012

 

 

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