A new study conducted by Washington University indicates that those with the bone disorder osteoporosis are 17 times more likely to also have celiac disease which is an intolerance to gluten in food. The report was published today in the journal the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine.’
The link was strong enough to allow the lead researcher of the project, William Stenson, to recommend, ‘all individuals with osteoporosis undergo screening (for celiac disease).’
Celiac disease makes it difficult for the body to absorb important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D which are important for the maintenance of bone density.
Interestingly enough, those with osteoporosis who were placed on gluten-free diets benefited from the change. ‘Treatment with a gluten-free diet for a year resulted in improved bone density in individuals with celiac disease and osteoporosis,’ Stenson said. ‘We believe that the diet allowed the intestines to heal and that permitted normal absorption of calcium and vitamin D to reverse bone loss,’ he added.
Patients suffering with osteoporosis are encouraged to get a simple blood test which is a preliminary indicator of celiac disease. If the first test comes back positive, a more specific test should be taken.
The results of this study reinforce the results of a study conducted recently in Finland.