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Child Nutrition – Gluten Free diet Reduces Bone Problems in Children with Celiac Disease

Posted Nov 23 2009 10:00pm

By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist

Mum Mum’s recently discussed a new study explaining that the high risk of osteoporosis in persons with celiac disease may be due to an additional autoimmune response on bone protein.  Diagnosing celiac disease as early as possible, particularly in childhood, can prevent many of the secondary conditions that occur as a result of continued gluten ingestion.  A new study found a gluten free diet can help kids reduce future bone problems.
Published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, the study compiled previous information on this topic to reveal that a gluten free diet (GFD) directly affects children’s recovery. In fact, children with early detection of celiac disease may attain peak bone mass if treatment is given before puberty thus preventing osteoporosis in the future. kidsbones

Metabolic bone disease is common in celiac disease emphasizing the importance of proper diagnosis as early in life as possible. Reduced bone mineral density leads to the inability to reach optimal bone mass in children as well as loss of bone in adults increasing risk of osteoporosis.

Most celiacs feel full symptom relief following a gluten free diet and to date a GFD is the only scientifically proven treatment. Additionally, vitamin D and calcium supplementation have been shown to increase bone mineral density in adolescent celiac patients. When it comes to bone health, however, the picture is not so rosy for adults. Adults can improve bone mineral density following a GFD, but rarely can it normalize as it has the potential to do in children.

The study authors conclude: “Our findings reinforce the importance of a strict gluten-free diet. Early diagnosis and therapy are critical in preventing celiac disease complications, like reduced bone mineral density.

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