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Primary Biliary Liver Cirrhosis Linked to Celiac Disease

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005; 21 (5): 515-518.

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Celiac.com 06/08/2005 – Australian researchers searched Medline and other references for cases of celiac disease and liver disease from 1966 to 2003. They found six studies that reported liver biochemistry in 591 celiac disease patients—out of which a full 248 had abnormal results—the most common of which being elevated transaminases. In 115 of 130 patients with elevated transaminases a gluten-free diet returned the levels to normal.

The researchers found a much greater association of primary biliary cirrhosis and advanced liver disease in those with celiac disease than expected, and conclude that abnormal liver biochemistry is frequent in untreated celiac disease—and those with it should undergo tissue transglutaminase screening for celiac disease—which could lead to a proper diagnosis in many cases. In rare cases celiac-induced hepatitis may progress to end-stage liver disease.

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5 Responses:

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said this on
03 Feb 2008 10:59:32 AM PDT
I was diagnosed with celiac in 2000, and in 2004 had surgery and my liver enzymes elevated. An ultrasound revealed fatty liver, but the enzymes have remained elevated, were going down, and now going back up again. I am seeking further testing and evaluation for possible cirrhosis.

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said this on
30 Jul 2010 4:01:36 PM PDT
Have not been "officially" diagnosed with Celiac, but am pretty sure I have it since every time I eat anything with gluten, I suffer incredible after-effects. Been on a mostly gluten-free diet for about 3-4 years, but occasionally fall off wagon and have some pizza or a cupcake, then my innards get all inflamed & sore & swollen again.

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said this on
12 Oct 2011 4:34:15 AM PDT
Nov 26th will mark the one year anniversary of the passing of my younger sister of liver cancer. Because I have had GI issues and was (I think) erroneously diagnosed as having moderate severe colitis, I am concerned that perhaps she also had celiac, but instead was also misdiagnosed and had her GB removed. She complained after the removal that she wasn't feeling better. So now my concerns for my own self are higher as I am finding that there is more to worry and be concerned about then just watching my diet. Thank you for all the articles and info this site has.

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said this on
11 Apr 2013 12:46:43 PM PDT
I have primary biliary cirrhosis, diagnosed in 2009. Then I got pregnant and all my liver test results were all so high including my bile acids which made me so very itchy. After having my little girl, it took 4 months for the Usro medication to start working and for the itch to stop. I have been in urso for 3 years now and been fine. I am now pregnant again and the itch has come back which I knew it was. My urso dose has increased from 1g a day to 3g a day, maximum dose I can be on. I just received a phone call from my consultant to say all my liver tests results have gone down to normal levels except the bile acids which have gone up. The doctor did seem quite surprised about the other going down as they didn't do that before. I told her I was on a gluten free diet and had been for 2 months now. I am amazed at the blood results going into normal levels as they have never been normal. But bile acids have increased but I know from experience and from going to a London hospital i who specialize in liver problems in pregnancy, that bile acids are related to hormone levels and of course pregnancy has increased these massively. So in understanding that gluten could have possibly lowered my other liver function tests they could not touch the bile acids if they are hugely affected by hormones, as I see it, gluten would not have any affect on hormones levels. So I am quite amazed and do believe the gluten free diet is helping me. It is a long term thing now, but am happy and very interested to see what my liver results are like in a years time and very interested to read articles like this.


Elaine Fischer
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said this on
14 Oct 2014 12:09:32 AM PDT
I have PBC, underwent a Liver transplant in Nov 2009, and I can't understand why my Doctors never once mentioned this to me? I had my Transplant at UCSF by Dr. Nancy Asher. This possibility was never discussed with me, and since then, my daughter who is now 30, has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, guess what that disease is called? celiac disease!!!!!

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Yes but...

I didn't read that far. Yikes... A hefty dose of perspective in that one. For anyone reading this is the post:

Hi! I'm new to the Celiac world. I have been gluten free for around seven months, but still seem to get glutened on a regular basis. I have been sick since January '16 and think that is when it triggered, but I didn't realize until October what it was. By that time I was pregnant with my little boy who is due in June. I also have an almost 4 year old daughter. I am really torn and wondering if I need to really be tested? I have very strong suspicions that I am a true celiac because my aunt has been diagnosed. Part of me says it doesn't matter, just live gluten free and assume you are, but the other part says I need to get tested so I know if my kids are at risk. So far my daughter is fine. She was grain free until after her first birthday, I plan on doing the same with my son. But I also don't want them to suffer the way I have. What would you do? The reason I don't want to get tested is I don't want to start eating it again and feel terrible while I have little kids, last year was so hard and I just want to get strong again. I also plan to bf for a few years and don't necessarily think it's a good idea to eat gluten while bf right? Thank you!

Welcome too! Sorry to hear you're suffering now. If you can nail the diet you should improve. You should also think about vitamin supplements. There's a good chance that you're suffering from one or more deficiencies as a result of the affects of celiac on your intestine's capacity to draw nutrients from your food. A good multi vitamin is a must, just make sure its gluten free and see if your doctor can refer you to a dietician as Lochella's has.

Oh I had heard his name and read some stuff about him but hadn't come across this video! Thanks!!