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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 FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) 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 Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Low Cholesterol Or Low Cortisol
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9 posts in this topic

I'd be interested to hear of anyone else experiencing low cholesterol and/or cortisol and any accompanying symptoms.

Does this often occur in celiacs (seen several other posts about this)? Even when they are on a gluten-free diet?

I first had low cholesterol and cortisol flagged one year ago. I just received new bloodwork (see signature for numbers) showing that my cholesterol and cortisol have continued to drop over the past year. Seems surprising as I've continued to eat lots of eggs, started eating butter (doctors orders!!!) and goat/sheep cheese. I don't eat meat, however, just fish and sea-food. I may need to start eating meat (been 'pescetarian' since childhood).

I've also been taking Isocort (supplement to help raise cortisol levels).

Thank you.

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My total cholesterol plummeted to 119 (normal range 140-199) around the same time my Graves hyperthyroidism kicked into full gear. My HDL was down to 23 (normal 40-135). My doctor retested about 5 months later once we had my thyroid stabilized and my total cholesterol had returned to a more normal 173 and HDL was back up to 55. He said this scenario was fairly typical with hyperthyroidism, but now I cannot remember why. Since autoimmune thyroidism shows up sometimes with celiac, this might be something to consider. Not sure about the cortisol, we did not track that number... Good luck.

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My total cholesterol plummeted to 119 (normal range 140-199) around the same time my Graves hyperthyroidism kicked into full gear. My HDL was down to 23 (normal 40-135). My doctor retested about 5 months later once we had my thyroid stabilized and my total cholesterol had returned to a more normal 173 and HDL was back up to 55. He said this scenario was fairly typical with hyperthyroidism, but now I cannot remember why. Since autoimmune thyroidism shows up sometimes with celiac, this might be something to consider. Not sure about the cortisol, we did not track that number... Good luck.

Thanks a lot for sharing. How was your hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

I did have a couple of thyroid function measurements done in this recent blood test. My TSH was 1.73 mU/L (normal range: 0.3-4.5) and 'free' T4 was 1.00 ng/dL (normal range: 0.7-1.8). I have recently had a subtle but noticeable sensation in my neck around where I think the thyroid is... Haven't really given it too much attention though.

This doctor (that I'm going to see again in a few days) mentioned that he suspected that some kind of thyroid issue may be occurring even though the last blood results were in the normal range (can't remember if he said hypo or hyper though). However, I don't think that I'm displaying that many of the symptoms for either. He suggested that I could take a natural thyroid supplement (pig hormones?) without further testing but that it could make things worse if it is not correct. But that we would know pretty quickly if that was the case... I'll ask him about the connection with the cholesterol for sure!

Thanks again.

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Thanks a lot for sharing. How was your hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

I was feeling a little "off" so I went in for a routine physical. Initial blood test for TSH came in at 0.05 and subsequent blood test showed TSH of 0.02, slightly elevated T4, moderately elevated T3, and further indicated elevated TPO antibodies and elevated TSH receptor antibodies. Thyroid ultrasound showed significant abnormal activity. Diagnosis autoimmune hyperthyroidism a/k/a Graves Disease. Your numbers look good but perhaps your doctor will order up the thyroid antibodies tests just to rule it out for sure... good luck.

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I was feeling a little "off" so I went in for a routine physical. Initial blood test for TSH came in at 0.05 and subsequent blood test showed TSH of 0.02, slightly elevated T4, moderately elevated T3, and further indicated elevated TPO antibodies and elevated TSH receptor antibodies. Thyroid ultrasound showed significant abnormal activity. Diagnosis autoimmune hyperthyroidism a/k/a Graves Disease. Your numbers look good but perhaps your doctor will order up the thyroid antibodies tests just to rule it out for sure... good luck.

Thanks for sharing... I looked over symptoms for the different forms of thyroidism and it doesn't seem to really align with my symptoms but I will perhaps see whether the doctor recommends getting an thyroid ultrasound done (as I have had the strange sensations in that area). I'm also waiting for a 'hormone test (saliva samples over 30 days)' so perhaps that is more sensitive than the blood-work. Thanks again.

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I'd be interested to hear of anyone else experiencing low cholesterol and/or cortisol and any accompanying symptoms.

Does this often occur in celiacs (seen several other posts about this)? Even when they are on a gluten-free diet?

I first had low cholesterol and cortisol flagged one year ago. I just received new bloodwork (see signature for numbers) showing that my cholesterol and cortisol have continued to drop over the past year. Seems surprising as I've continued to eat lots of eggs, started eating butter (doctors orders!!!) and goat/sheep cheese. I don't eat meat, however, just fish and sea-food. I may need to start eating meat (been 'pescetarian' since childhood).

I've also been taking Isocort (supplement to help raise cortisol levels).

Thank you.

Severe malabsorption and malnutrition can cause low cholesterol. So yes it can be connected to celiac. Mine used to be around 110. Sibling's was 70 but then he was also at death's door at the time requiring an emergency surgery and subsequent admittance to the ICU.

I have never had cortisol levels tested.

Last time I had a blood test my cholesterol was around 220 and I hope it goes up a little more than that. I do eat a lot of meat but if what I learned in the nutrition classes I've taken are any indication of fact, your liver adjusts cholesterol production based on dietary intake. So if you eat less cholesterol your liver makes more of it, and vice versa. I don't believe the <200 cholesterol BS that's being touted right now. Low cholesterol ups mortality. Cholesterol is what your cell membranes incorporate, a significant portion of what your brain is made of, a precurser to hormones (including cortosol), and your body's spackle for inflammation. Current medical science is hating on the spackle and ignoring the core problem: inflammation.

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Severe malabsorption and malnutrition can cause low cholesterol. So yes it can be connected to celiac. Mine used to be around 110. Sibling's was 70 but then he was also at death's door at the time requiring an emergency surgery and subsequent admittance to the ICU.

I have never had cortisol levels tested.

Last time I had a blood test my cholesterol was around 220 and I hope it goes up a little more than that. I do eat a lot of meat but if what I learned in the nutrition classes I've taken are any indication of fact, your liver adjusts cholesterol production based on dietary intake. So if you eat less cholesterol your liver makes more of it, and vice versa. I don't believe the <200 cholesterol BS that's being touted right now. Low cholesterol ups mortality. Cholesterol is what your cell membranes incorporate, a significant portion of what your brain is made of, a precurser to hormones (including cortosol), and your body's spackle for inflammation. Current medical science is hating on the spackle and ignoring the core problem: inflammation.

I agree with this line of thought. Doctors ought to be hanged for the amount of cholesterol drugs they push on people. I have also found that a diet high in carbs will raise cholesterol...not the meat fear they like to put out there. High carbs raise blood sugar and that triggers inflammation. But don't worry....we have steroids for that inflammation...... :o

I should never get started on this topic....Western medicine drives me insane..... :ph34r:

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I have low cholesterol. The first time I got it tested was a few months after going gluten free & it was at 135 total. It went up to 150, but the last time I tested it (almost 3 years gluten free) it was back down to 143. I can't seem to get it up in the normal range--it really needs to be above 160 to be healthy.

Celiac can trigger it since you can't absorb what your body needs to make cholesterol (and might not absorb much cholesterol from the diet itself), but that should sort itself out after going gluten-free. Like you, I don't eat any meat--and I also run regularly, both of which lower cholesterol. Symptoms tend to include most brain issues (anxiety, depression).

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I was diagnosed with Celiac 5 months ago and have been gluten/dairy free since then. I have always had low total cholesterol (105-120 range), with an HDL number teetering around 40 (38-41). I have read that with Celiac and mal-absorption issues it is common to have low cholesterol because your body isn't absorbing fat (and likely the fat-soluble vitamins too). I had my annual physical last month, and was hoping that my cholesterol numbers might be more normal (or at least have a reasonable HDL number). I was disappointed to hear that my total is still 105 and my HDL went down to 38. :(

I am already doing almost everything my primary doctor recommended to improve my HDL number:

exercise (i walk most days, and do some other exercise 3-5 days a week)

omega-3's (salmon once a week; flax seed/fish oil/cod liver oil supplements daily)

control weight (i could stand to lose a few lbs, but probably not more than 5)

avoid breads/pastries/etc (i don't bother with much for processed gluten-free foods)

The only thing that I am not doing is drinking red wine - which I do love to drink, but I also gave up drinking (for the time being) with the diagnosis to help my body heal.

So....I talked to my naturopathic doctor who recommended getting the celiac panel in the first place - she has put me on digestive enzymes, to help my body start absorbing fat.

In a few weeks, I need to get my cholesterol tested again, to see if the enzymes are helping...

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