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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

Gaining Muscle W/ Celiac

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I'm 28 years old, Male, 175 lbs, 5' 11.

I have been going to the gym, on and off, since high school and my biggest problem has always been I don't put on muscle, no matter how hard I work out. At my peak I was working out 4-5 times a week, 1 1/2 hours a day (mostly lifting) and it just wasn't working out. My stomach was a mess and at best I would gain 1 or 2 pounds but mostly I just stayed the same.

Now, I have been gluten free for about 6 weeks (well, technically I got glutened 10 days ago but I'm better now). My question is, does it get easier to put on muscle mass after going gluten free? I know my intestines are still healing, and I accept that my stomach is still a little funny, but I want to work towards the future. I want to get the body I always wanted.

Any stories? theories? suggestions?


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I'm a personal trainer and was diagnosed with celiac in Feb. 2010. I struggled with bouts of extreme weakness, fatigue, muscle tremors and headache with ANY attempt (even 10 minutes at low intensity :( ). Only now have I been able to exercise for 20 minutes without symptoms, and only at 30% of my previous intensity. . .). My abs are disgusting: I used to have a 4-pack (never made it to 6 - LOL) but, ah, not anymore. My muscle structure/toning for the rest of me is "kind of" there. I haven't actually gained weight per se, fortunately.

My interpretation of what has been going on in my case is that I was going through that gluten withdrawal thing, and plus my intestines have not been absorbing food properly. So, as things are beginning to heal, food (protein included, of course) will start to be better absorbed so that I will have the energy for a better workout, and finally then I hope to get some of my toning and muscle structure back. Now I have to turn what I tell my clients back to me: it takes time, don't expect over-night changes, don't overdo it, etc. etc. I'm discovering it is a lot easier to say the words than to hear and live by them!!!

In your case, I would say make sure you are getting enough protein, but don't overload your body with it. If you decide you need to increase your protein intake, do it gradually or your intestines may rebel.

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FWIW I am an old fart of 49. Worked out pretty much all my life until complications from undiagnosed celiac shut things down several years ago. I was "bulking up" all the while I was getting weaker and so people thought I was actually much stronger as I got sicker and sicker. When I was finally Dx'ed properly a year ago February and went on paleo to keep compliance in the no brainer zone I lost almost all my body fat in scary fast time. At about the same time I started rebuilding many of my old exercise prototypes as I was now able to tolerate exercise for the first time in years... then I was given several vintage pieces of Nautilus equipment to do some retrofit experiments with as well as seven other pieces of commercial equipment. I now have a ridiculous personal gym. I have gotten considerably stronger all while healing but I am super lean and have a hard time gaining much in the way of muscle mass. I upped my vitamin D intake and managed to gain a whopping 2 pounds in 6 weeks. Thing is, I have never felt better and am no longer concerned with whether or not I get any bigger... only concerned with getting healthier. Two years ago I could barely get out of a chair. Now I can sprint, run, bike, I can do fifteen dips and chins with my bodyweight as well as tolerate some pretty heavy duty workouts.. but it is the ability to work that has been the greatest gain from all of this. I know I still have a ways to go in the healing department so workouts are always secondary to how I am feeling. Tomorrow is a scheduled day for me and if I feel good I will stick with the workout. Patience. Take care of the healing first and foremost!

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It's totally possible to be able to gain muscle after your diagnosis. I second what another poster said about easing into it and letting your body heal from the gluten before packing on the protein and weighlifting. I am confident that once you heal a bit you can definitely build muscle. I know that's happened to me personally in the years since my diagnosis. :)

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I totally have to agree. I'm not a weightlifter. I'm a martial artist for life. Before my diagnoses I had real bad problems. I gained muscles, but slowly and very lean. And even if I would take one day break I ruined everything. Now I'm actually able to keep some of my muscleas, even though I'm not working out everyday anymore, which is more of a toddler problem than a physical problem. Single mom's sometimes can't do everything they want.


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I'll third...fourth...fifth (whatever number I am) what everyone else said. You will build muscle again. Just make sure you do plenty of cardio if you want your muscles to show -- to shed body fat, that's the best way, not to mention, you'll feel better and more capable when you work on building muscles.

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