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    Gluten-free Diet Means Healthier Bones for Kids with Celiac Disease


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 11/05/2009 - It's well known that people with celiac disease often show reduced bone mineral density, and that metabolic bone disease is a significant and common complication of celiac disease. A new article in the journal Nutrition Reviews reinforces the benefits of a gluten-free diet in reducing bone problems in children with celiac disease.

    This is important information, because, even though celiac disease can be diagnosed at any age, it most often discovered in children between 9 and 24 months of age.

    By better understanding the benefits of a gluten-free diet in preventing bone disease, parents can make smarter choices that will help build healthy bones in their celiac kids.

    Ideally, this will help the kids to avoid the reduced bone mineral density that can lead to the inability to develop optimal bone mass as children and to the loss of bone as adults, both of which increase the risk of osteoporosis, and contribute to an additional risk of fracture.

    The good news is that the evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet in celiac children paves the way for a rapid increase in bone mineral density, followed by a complete recovery of bone mineralization. Children may attain normal peak bone mass if the diagnosis is made and treatment is given before puberty, thereby preventing osteoporosis in later life.

    Also, regular calcium and vitamin D supplements seem to increase the bone mineral density of children and adolescents with celiac disease.

    In adults, the picture is less rosy. In adults, a gluten-free diet improves, although rarely normalizes, bone mineral density.

    "Our findings reinforce the importance of a strict gluten-free diet, which remains the only scientific proven treatment for celiac disease to date," the authors conclude. "Early diagnosis and therapy are critical in preventing celiac disease complications, like reduced bone mineral density."

    Source:
    Nutrition Reviews

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com.

    Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA.

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    Celiac.com 01/14/2002 - According to a report in the electronic version of Pediatrics for November 2001, Osteopenia is often found in children with untreated celiac disease. A strict gluten-free diet will promote an increase in bone mineral density (BMD) values, but even after a year of treatment they may not return to normal. In their study, Dr. Ayhan Gazi Kalayci, of Ondokuz Mayia University, Samsun, Turkey, and colleagues evaluated 32 children with celiac disease and 82 healthy control subjects. The patients were separated into two groups of 16, one that consisted of patients who had been recently diagnosed (within the average of 3.2 years), and the other which consisted of patients who had followed a strict gluten-free diet for 19 to 84 months.
    Results: Patients with recently diagnosed celiac disease had significantly lower BMD and bone mineral content levels than control subjects, and the BMD levels increased significantly after one year on a gluten-free diet. According to Dr. Kalayci, more follow-up studies will be needed to determine whether re-mineralization will continue in the subjects, and a complete recovery of bone mass can be achieved.

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