Saturday, May 7, 2011

Osteopenia and Bone Loss

About a year after I was diagnosed with celiac disease and when I was about 38 years old, I had a bone density test.  I was shocked to find out that I had osteopenia and 14% bone loss in my hip.  Dr. Peter H.R. Green states,

"It is now understood that patients who went undiagnosed for many years (or who believed they had "outgrown" celiac disease) often suffered from calcium malabsorption starting in childhood.  This compromises bone formation and growth at its onset.  The lack of necessary calcium may continue through adolescence and young adulthood when bone is forming its hightest density, and into menopause, exacerbating the effects of normal aging when bone normally begins to thin.  These patients are at particular risk to develop osteopenia and osteoporosis.  They may already have it when the normal decline of bone mass starts in early adulthood." (see Celiac Disease:  A Hidden Epidemic, P. 107)

Calcium supplementation is quite important for those of us with celiac disease.  ..."Remember that calcium requires vitamin D to be effectively absorbed."  (Dr. Green, P. 111) 

The following information from the Mayo Clinic is helpful:

Vitamin supplements to combat malnutrition

If your nutritional deficiencies are severe, you may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements recommended by your doctor or dietitian to help correct these deficiencies. Your doctor may recommend supplements to increase your levels of:
  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
Vitamin supplements can be taken in pill form. But in some situations, your digestive tract may have trouble absorbing vitamins. In these cases, your doctor may give the vitamins by injection.


My sister (who also has celiac disease) has difficulty absorbing vitamins, and most of the supplements she has taken make her feel sick.  She has to get her vitamins through an IV.

It is wonderful that we have options for better health. 

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