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Celiac And Strength Training
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Hey guys. long story short, i suspect that i have celiac disease because my sister and dad were just diagnosed and i have many of the same symptoms. im getting tested soon and i havent started a diet yet.

my question is this: can celiac disease seriously impair your strength and ability to gain strength/muscle? im 6'3" 180lbs but i have always been pitifully weak. i started strength training about 7 months ago and i have worked my squat up from about 90lbs to 170lbs (3 sets of 5). In addition to having a hard time gaining strength/weight and being extremely weak for my size, i also lose what i have gained incredibly quickly. i stopped lifting for about 3 week to let a sprained ankle heal, but remained moderately physically active for those weeks. i come back and ive lost about 3 pounds and i couldnt even put up 150lbs 2 times! i know that everyones body is different... but that amount of strength lost that quickly doesnt seem natural to me. and this seems to happen every time i stop lifting for a week or more.

i have really been putting forth alot of effort to try to get stronger... but this is starting to get very discouraging now. i have been lifting for months and i STILL cant squat my own weight. has anyone had a similar experience with celiac disease? i am really hoping that this improves once i start a diet.

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You bet it can!!! Celiac disease damages the lining of the stomach, which is responsible for absorbing nutrients from your food, including protein, Vitamin D, and carbs (among others), which are necessary for muscle building. It takes time, and a 100% gluten-free lifestyle (if you do, in fact, have celiac disease) for your body to heal.

Since going gluten-free 2 years ago, I have gained 10-15 lbs of muscle (I am still lean & athletic and all my clothes still fit lol)! Results will vary with each individual, but I think you're on the right track and there is definitely hope that if/when you go gluten-free, you will improve your strength. Even if your test is negative, you could always try the diet for 6 months to a year to see if it helps (there is such a thing as a false negative test).

Good luck :)

my question is this: can celiac disease seriously impair your strength and ability to gain strength/muscle? im 6'3" 180lbs but i have always been pitifully weak. i started strength training about 7 months ago and i have worked my squat up from about 90lbs to 170lbs (3 sets of 5). In addition to having a hard time gaining strength/weight and being extremely weak for my size, i also lose what i have gained incredibly quickly. i stopped lifting for about 3 week to let a sprained ankle heal, but remained moderately physically active for those weeks. i come back and ive lost about 3 pounds and i couldnt even put up 150lbs 2 times! i know that everyones body is different... but that amount of strength lost that quickly doesnt seem natural to me. and this seems to happen every time i stop lifting for a week or more.

i have really been putting forth alot of effort to try to get stronger... but this is starting to get very discouraging now. i have been lifting for months and i STILL cant squat my own weight. has anyone had a similar experience with celiac disease? i am really hoping that this improves once i start a diet.

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Agreed with the above. When I was so messed up it would take me a month to recover from any attempt at working out. I had seriously trained for much of my life but was getting weaker and weaker. Now, after several years of healing, I recover faster than when I was much younger and have gained considerable strength. Strict gluten free has enabled much of this incredible response.

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Ditto to what the others have said. For the last several years, I was so frustrated by what I called "diminishing returns" from my workouts. I seemed to expend more effort, but get fewer gains (or even lose strength). Couldn't really understand it.

Now, I've been gluten-free for 15 weeks. I've only been able to really work out the last 3-4 weeks, but I see strength (re)gains very quickly (particularly in my core). Needless to say, I'm thrilled. :)

So, you'll probably see gains once you get the healing process started. But, please take it slow. It was hard for me to accept this too, but it's necessary. Your body's been through a lot. Slow and steady for a couple of weeks/months is worth it for the payoff in the long run. Good luck!!

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i am really hoping that this improves once i start a diet.

Congrats on figuring this out. Now, with the proper diet, get ready for take off! Your body will be absorbing the nutrients and protein at an accelerated rate.

Since you speak of diet above, the most crucial building block for muscle is the lean protein that you'll need with nearly every meal. Do a search on my various posts and you'll list after list of protein recommendations that I make.

Within time, you'll be lifting an incredible amount of weight... take it from me.

Welcome to post-Celiac success days!

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It's so true :) In my student days tried to gain some muscle for improved metabolism, but the results were meager to say the least. After diagnosis and treatment I picked up weightlifting again and I'm getting in shape really quickly now. Before I suffered from dizzyness and lack of energy during training, that's nearly gone now. It's also easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle now, because my hunger binges are gone. I could eat for hours and hours and still be hungry.

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I have been gluten free my whole life and been working out for about 11 years (off and on) and I believe that the diet is very healthy. I have two older brothers and I'm bigger (muscles) then both. There is plenty of good nutritious gluten free grains out there. One of my favorite (probably the best grain for us in the world) is quinoa. i have a feeling you will notice quick results, both with energy, size and strength once you go gluten free.

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    • Advil (ibuprofen) is gluten-free, but can be a stomach irritant, especially if taken on an empty stomach. That said, I will also place my bet on the garlic and onions. As Raven said, eating more than once a day may also help. An empty stomach is likely to be an irritable stomach.
    • Another link: http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/7351/PDF
    • Thanks for posting.  I know it is difficult to talk about these sorts of things even on a webforum.  It is good thing for people to be aware though about celiac disease and that it can cause mental problems.  Gluten can cause brain damage and it can cause anxiety. If the brain does heal it may take a long time. I know that gluten can cause anxiety and obsessive thoughts.  My experience has been similar to your experience. When I first quit eating gluten I had a similar constant loop and strong negative feelings. There are lots of people on this forum who get anxiety when they eat gluten. Some people also experience gluten withdrawl where they experience anxiety after giving up gluten. It can take a long time for the body to heal and for obsessive thoughts to go away.
       It is normal for people to socialize with each other and to be comfortable about it. You said you have problems still socializing and being around people. It might be a depressing thought but it sounds to me like you still have problems with anxiety.  I would recommend considering what options you have available to treat the anxiety. When I quit eating Gluten I still had some symptoms, even though I felt much better. I have been slowly recovering over a period of about three years. I had obsessive thoughts even after I quit eating gluten.  Now I very rarely if at all think about those things. My experience is that my mind would latch on to certain things that caused me anxiety and focus on those things. Sometimes my focus would shift and I would latch onto other things. My ability to socialize has also improved greatly with time. I have made some dietary changes which I believe have helped greatly. It sounds to me like you have obsessive thoughts about things and maybe some brain damage. My experience has been that my obsessive thoughts about different things went away with time. I feel my obsessive thoughts were caused by gluten and not by what people did around me or any events. As my brain healed I became more self aware and things became less stressful.  I can't give medical advice on this forum but I can talk about my current diet and my experience with celiac disease. My experience with gluten is different from a lot of other people so it is a good idea to ask other people and to talk to a doctor.  I avoid oats and avoid almost all processed foods. I buy certified gluten free food. I eat healthy and I exercise every day. I take st John's Wort as I have read studies that say it may be as effective as some other anti-depressants for treating certain types of anxiety. It is available over the counter. I started with a small dosage and then stepped it up over time. I think it helps a lot.  This is also something that you should talk to a doctor about first. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Martin_Mahoney2/publication/7426926_St._John's_wort/links/540d8acc0cf2f2b29a386673.pdf A lot of people with celiac disease have vitamin deficiencies.  Vitamin b deficiency can cause anxiety. Some people do not process the synthetic form of vitamin b (from normal pills)  very well, and do better on an activated form of vitamin b. I take:
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      St Johns Wort daily.
      1 zinc vitamin daily
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    • Thank you. This is really helpful. I will call around next week.  I just want to heal! 
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