3 3
Emily W

How can I be overweight with Celiac?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I was recently worked up for Celiac disease due to a laundry list of autoimmune inflammatory processes with no explanation and my blood panel is highly indicative for celiac disease, although I am still waiting to see an Gastro doc. 


One of my symptoms is persistent weight gain that I couldn't get under control-- I was killing myself trying everything under the sun and the scale kept going up for years and years. I've been gluten free for a week (no other changes) and I've lost 5 pounds. 


I saw on several peer reviewed studies that 39% of celiac disease people are overweight at the time of their diagnosis but I can't find the pathophysiology on why that is. Clearly I am one of those 39%. Can anyone share their knowledge?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ads by Google:
Ads by Google:

I also gained weight b4 diagnosis..some of us have..then I had to have my gallbladder removed..goes along with Celiac Disease..and I still cannot loose weight ..diagnosed 6 years ago..My Best advice to u..if u haven't already..Do the AIP Protocol..find out what your body reacts too..and give it up..It's so hard with everything we have to give up..but necessary to feel better..GOODLUCK and RESEARCH ALL THE TIME!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

For it me used to be a combo deal, I was constipated for days over a week constantly....that packs up, and the rotting fermenting food can cause a inflammatory effect and water retention in addition. You also have the low energy reserves so your might not be as active as others. Then you have the fact your body is actually starving for certain nutrients and going into a fat store horde mode all the time. Everyone is a bit different but these are why I think I used to be overweight in high school.  Going into and getting out of college my symptoms changed drastically and I just kept loosing weight and being sick with various symptoms and thought I was dying before getting diagnosed.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you seen pictures of undernourished alcoholics (beer belly), starving children, end stage chronic illness?  All have large protruding bellies.  The body does try and hold on to all nutrients and tries to protect vital internal organs in the trunk of the body.  It is a misleading visual for starvation, inflammation, constipation in a person who can be retaining fluids.  All of that can make a person look pretty puffy. 


I think every Celiac should also be having their thyroid monitored for auto immune thyroid disease too.  Graves disease is an over active thyroid and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis can start out flip-flopping between over active to underactive until it finally destroys the thyroid function entirely -lifetime of thyroid medication is needed.  Hashimoto's likes to hide itself by making the neck area very puffy and swollen.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait!  You should have been told NOT to go gluten free until all celiac testing has been completed.  Your GI may want to run additional blood tests.   Typically, the next step (biopsies obtained via an endoscopy) require you to be on a gluten diet.  If you go gluten free, you will stop producing antibodies.  Some people heal fast and some slow.  What if you do the endoscopy and it is negative, yet your blood tests showed elevated antibodies for celiac disease?   You will be in diagnostic Limboland.  If you want a diagnosis for to improve your health, start eating gluten.  If you are intested in weight loss, cancel the appointment with the GI.  I do not mean to be mean....but it sounds like you are taking the time to research celiac disease.  Understand all the testing requirements before making changes in your lifestyle.  I am sorry if your doctor did not tell you this, but the sad truth is that many front-line doctors are clueless.  Too bad they do not google thing before ordering tests (I get that they can not know everything!).  

Why are you overweight and I was not?  Everyone presents differently making celiac disease even more difficult to diagnose.  I am not overweight and I have Hashimoto’s.  Go figure.  Again, all present differently!  (Ennis had a good explanation and Mommida was dead on on getting a thyroid screening (including thyroid antibodies).  

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ads by Google:


I agree with Cycling Lady's advice to continue eating gluten until all tests are completed.  Many Celiacs report horrible reactions to the reintroduction of gluten into their diets after several weeks or months of being gluten free.  They endure these Gluten Challenges for diagnostic purposes after they went gluten free on their own or on poor advice from doctors who aren't knowledgeable about Celiac Disease.  Get all the tests done, get a definite diagnosis, then go gluten free.  At least you've had a glimpse of what a gluten free diet will do for yourself. 

Be sure you discuss vitamin and mineral deficiencies with your doctor and nutritionist.  Celiac Disease causes malabsorption which results in malnutrition.  Newly diagnosed Celiacs are often low in many vitamins and minerals.  

Since your intestines are damaged by Celiac Disease, they have trouble absorbing nutrients, especially fat soluble vitamins A and D.  Low levels of vitamin D has been linked to obesity and thyroid disfunction.  Low vitamin A is linked to vision problems like night blindness and skin problems.  

The B vitamins are water soluble and so are easily lost when one has diarrhea or constipation. The B vitamins need to be replenished every day.  Until you heal, you may need to use supplements to ensure you can absorb enough vitamins and minerals.

B vitamins are essential to energy production.  If your body doesn't have enough of certain B vitamins, the carbohydrates can't be "burned" for energy and so are stored as fat.  

Niacin, Vitamin B3, is needed for intestinal integrity.  Without Niacin, the intestines can't keep water on the inside of the digestive tract.  The intestinal tissues bloat resulting in that distended beer belly in alcoholics and starving children.  And Celiacs.  

Deficiencies in iron, copper, zinc, calcium, and magnesium are prevalent in the newly diagnosed and can cause anemia, muscle weakness, and other problems. 

 Gee, sounds scary, so catch nutritional deficiencies early! 

I was morbidly obese.  My vitamin D level was 6.  Accepted "Normal" range varies, generally 40 or higher, but people who live in the tropics or who get plentiful sunshine, usually have levels between 80 and 120.  My weight slid off as I got my vitamin D level to the 80's.  I was deficient in all the B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins A and C.  I took supplements and still do today  though I try to get most nutrients in whole foods.  

I went on the AIP (AutoImmune Paleo Protocol) diet and had wonderful results.  I also incorporated a low histamine diet that really helped, too.  While healing, I cut out dairy, all grains, all processed foods, nightshade vegetables, and legumes. 

Here's some articles about vitamins



I hope this helps!  Please keep us informed on your diagnosis and progress! 



  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/13/2018 at 2:25 AM, knitty kitty said:

B vitamins are essential to energy production.  If your body doesn't have enough of certain B vitamins, the carbohydrates can't be "burned" for energy and so are stored as fat.  

Emily W,

Knitty Kitty hit the nail on the head.  I think.

See this Livestrong article that covers it well.


B-Vitamins support your metabolism and because a celiac is a malabsorption syndrome/disease at it's heart you often have trouble with getting enough B-Vitamins from your food.

Here is a good article link that explains how B-Vitamins helps Celiac's.


I too wasn't "skinny" when I was diagnosed either but begin loosing weight after I began absorbing my nutrients again.

Think starving children they almost always have bloated belly especially if there is a famine or war.

Here is a good list of nutritional diseases


search for images of kwashiorkor especially prominent when good protein sources are not readily available like a famine.

I hope this is helpful.

***** this is not medical advice but I have learned for most things "there is a Vitamin/Mineral" for that.

(though we don't always know what it is sometimes)

And why this is not 100% true in all cases.

It is true in many more cases than it is not and we don't recognize modern vitamin deficiencies today.

here is a great example.

They sell "restasis eye drops" for dry eyes.

But if the Vitamin D council is correct. . . you should take Vitamin D.


and I did!

I no longer rub my eyes constantly because my dry eyes are better.

I could go down the list but Knitty Kitty has given you a great overview.

I hope this is helpful.

I think health is "Alimentry" of or pertaining to your gut/GI.

If your GI system is not healthy . . . the rest of your body will not be healthy soon because that is where absorption occurs.

I actually think it is "Time for a Vitamin Reformation" today.

But I am afraid doctor's are too busy studying medicine's today that they don't often have any time left to study Vitamins/basic nutrition these days.

That is for Nutritionists???? Ironic isn't it.

Again I hope this is helpful.

2 Timothy 2:7 “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” this included.

posterboy by the grace of God,



  • Upvote 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you guys for all your explanation, this all makes a lot of sense. I gained 40 pounds in 4 years and have tried EVERYTHING short of completely starving myself to make it stop. I will be interested to see what fixing these nutritional deficits will do for me. 

As for continuing to eat gluten until I see my Gastro, I have decided to start taking care of myself now. The gastro's in town don't have any availability until end of April and I can't continue to eat my own personal form of poison for the 3% chance that exists that I don't have celiac disease (based on all my lab results). If he deems it necessary I will go from there. But I have had many years of suffering from this disease and I just can't keep doing that to myself, you know?

Thank you all for your concern and recommendations, I am so appreciative. We will see where this crazy journey takes me!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharing my experience: both of my kids (K1, girl, then 11, and K2, boy, then 10) were diagnosed within a month of each other last year, both of them with off the charts TTG IGA levels. 

Kid1 had been putting on weight - went from average range to 15-20 overweight - and had a bizarrely insatiable appetite in the 6-9 mo leading up to diagnosis, among a bunch of other difficult behavioral issues. Like, she would have 3 or 4 full plates of something (more than I can eat, and I'm quite tall with a very healthy appetite) every night at dinner, and pitch a fit when I cut her off because she said she still felt hungry. (Cue parental speech from me about how something must not be right, because her stomach cannot possibly still be hungry, so let's wait 20 min, etc. ...) Left unchecked, she would've eaten herself into seriously overweight territory because of what celiac disease was doing to her appetite, gut, and brain; my guess is that it was a combination of malabsorption driving increased appetite, and pain misreporting itself as hunger, but I really don't know.

As of today, a year later, her antibodies are down to only 4x normal and she is starting to slim down naturally without any huge effort or changes other than eating healthy and starting to do more activities than she used to (because she's starting to feel better and has some energy now). She occasionally worries about it (middle school ...), and I reassure her that it is nothing to worry about - it'll take care of itself as she continues to grow and to heal. 

At the same time, K2 had been getting skinnier and skinnier as he went through what we thought was a series of stomach flus, with diarrhea and vomiting. Nope, turned out to be celiac! He has slowly been putting weight back on and has gone from stringbean to healthy slim. He's due to get his labs drawn soon; I'm guessing he's at close to normal but not normal yet, as he still is low-ish energy and complains of aches and pains. 

TL:DR - There is a lot of variation, and celiac disease can cause overweight as well as underweight, even in the same household.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
3 3

  • Who's Online   3 Members, 0 Anonymous, 393 Guests (See full list)

  • Top Posters +

  • Recent Articles

    Advertising Banner-Ads
    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
    Our passion is to bake the very best products while bringing happiness to our customers, each other, and all those we meet!
    We are available during normal business hours at: 1-888-533-8118 EST.
    To learn more about us at: visit our site.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
    The trials are set to begin at Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre. The vaccine is designed to allow people with celiac disease to consume gluten with no adverse effects. A successful vaccine could be the beginning of the end for the gluten-free diet as the only currently viable treatment for celiac disease. That could be a massive breakthrough for people with celiac disease.
    USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said trial participants would receive an injection of the vaccine twice a week for seven weeks. The trials will be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr. James Daveson, who called the vaccine “a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
    Dr. Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance to people with celiac disease.The trial is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have clinically diagnosed celiac disease, and have followed a strict gluten-free diet for at least 12 months. Anyone interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com.
    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/19/2018 - Could baking soda help reduce the inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease? Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say that a daily dose of baking soda may in fact help reduce inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
    Those scientists recently gathered some of the first evidence to show that cheap, over-the-counter antacids can prompt the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be helpful in combating inflammatory disease.
    A type of cell called mesothelial cells line our body cavities, like the digestive tract. They have little fingers, called microvilli, that sense the environment, and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed.
    The team’s data shows that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, the stomach makes more acid, which causes mesothelial cells on the outside of the spleen to tell the spleen to go easy on the immune response.  "It's most likely a hamburger not a bacterial infection," is basically the message, says Dr. Paul O'Connor, renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study's corresponding author.
    That message, which is transmitted with help from a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, seems to encourage the gut to shift against inflammation, say the scientists.
    In patients who drank water with baking soda for two weeks, immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. "The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere," O'Connor says. "We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood."
    O'Connor hopes drinking baking soda can one day produce similar results for people with autoimmune disease. "You are not really turning anything off or on, you are just pushing it toward one side by giving an anti-inflammatory stimulus," he says, in this case, away from harmful inflammation. "It's potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease."
    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
    Read more at: Sciencedaily.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
    The research team included P Singh, A Arora, TA Strand, DA Leffler, C Catassi, PH Green, CP Kelly, V Ahuja, and GK Makharia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India; Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Gastroenterology Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA; Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; USA Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
    For their review, the team searched Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE for the keywords ‘celiac disease,’ ‘celiac,’ ‘tissue transglutaminase antibody,’ ‘anti-endomysium antibody,’ ‘endomysial antibody,’ and ‘prevalence’ for studies published from January 1991 through March 2016. 
    The team cross-referenced each article with the words ‘Asia,’ ‘Europe,’ ‘Africa,’ ‘South America,’ ‘North America,’ and ‘Australia.’ They defined celiac diagnosis based on European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition guidelines. The team used 96 articles of 3,843 articles in their final analysis.
    Overall global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4% in 275,818 individuals, based on positive blood tests for anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or anti-endomysial antibodies. The pooled global prevalence of biopsy-confirmed celiac disease was 0.7% in 138,792 individuals. That means that numerous people with celiac disease potentially remain undiagnosed.
    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
    This review demonstrates a need for more comprehensive population-based studies of celiac disease in numerous countries.  The 1.4% rate indicates that there are 91.2 million people worldwide with celiac disease, and 3.9 million are in the U.S.A.
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/16/2018 - Summer is the time for chips and salsa. This fresh salsa recipe relies on cabbage, yes, cabbage, as a secret ingredient. The cabbage brings a delicious flavor and helps the salsa hold together nicely for scooping with your favorite chips. The result is a fresh, tasty salsa that goes great with guacamole.
    3 cups ripe fresh tomatoes, diced 1 cup shredded green cabbage ½ cup diced yellow onion ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeno, seeded 1 Serrano pepper, seeded 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 garlic cloves, minced salt to taste black pepper, to taste Directions:
    Purée all ingredients together in a blender.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired. 
    Serve is a bowl with tortilla chips and guacamole.