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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Does Exercise Improve Bone Mineral Density for Women on a Gluten-free Diet?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 04/09/2012 - Many people with celiac disease suffer from fatigue and may limit theirsocial activities, both of which can lead to a decrease in physicalactivity, and potentially lower bone mass.

    A team of medical researchers recently set out to study the effects of exercise and gluten-free diet on bone-mass in women with celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--perpetuaplumThe research team included Valentina Passanantia, Antonella Santonicolaa, Cristina Buccia, Paolo Andreozzia, Antonella Ranaudoa, Daniel V. Di Giacomoc, and Carolina Ciacci. They are affiliated with the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University Federico II of Naples, Italy, the Gastrointestinal Unit of Salerno University Medical School in Salerno, Italy, and the Celiac Disease Center of the Department of Medicine at Columbia University in New York.

    For their study, the team recruited two groups of women. In both groups, they examined physical activity, fatigue and bone mineral density in women with celiac disease, both at diagnosis and while following a gluten-free diet.

    In the first group of 48 women, the team measured bone mineral density at diagnosis and after 2 years of a gluten-free diet. In the second group, this one with 47 women, researchers measured bone mineral density at diagnosis, and after 5 years of a gluten-free diet.

    The researchers questioned and assessed both groups regarding physical activity and ranked them on a visual analogue scale regarding their perception of fatigue at diagnosis and follow-up. The team also gathered data on smoking habits, alcohol use, gastrointestinal symptoms, drug therapy and body mass index.

    Across the board, for all factors, the two groups showed similar results. At follow-up, the mean body mass index and physical activity questionnaire scores were similar to baseline. Both groups showed increased bone density and unchanged scores for physical activity and visual analogue scale.

    For both groups, bone density improved significantly after two years on a gluten-free diet. In both groups, physical activity was often low and played only a small role in changes to bone mineral density.

    So, exercise does not seem to help increase bone mineral density in any significant way, and following a gluten-free diet is sufficient to re-establish bone mineral density to healthy levels.

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    If the physical activity was low in the groups how do they know that more exercise would not have increased bone density even more? Assuming that it has no effect because the two groups had low levels of exercise is faulty thinking.

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    I have diagnosed celiac and osteoporosis and have been gluten-free for 10+ years. I started a serious exercise program a year ago and my last BMD scan DID show improvement! Prior to exercising, my BMD had not shown improvement with just a gluten-free diet. So I think this study needs further evaluation, perhaps with a broader cohort.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He 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 science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised 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 "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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  • Forum Discussions

    To the OP, once in a while this stuff happens.  Please feel free to start a new topic if that would make it easier.  I am afraid this is just part of forums on the internet. I hope this didn’t chase you off.  
    @anasss Nobody in this thread has called anyone "ignorant," so please don't say that if it did not happen. Also, the use of all capitals is, in forums and other places on the Internet, generally considered yelling and impolite, and there ...
    Bshake, Look up the "baking soda test" ...it is a nice home test to see if your daughter could have low stomach that is triggering the ulcers or creating the perfect conditions for ulcers to develop....mastic gum as has been mentioned...
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