If You Have Osteoporosis, Wheat May be Responsible

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March 19, 2005 | 41,973 views

People who have the bone disease osteoporosis are more likely than the general population to also have celiac disease, an intestinal disorder caused by intolerance to wheat flour (gluten). Celiac disease renders patients unable to absorb certain nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D -- both essential to bone health -- leading to osteoporosis. The good news? Researchers say that treating celiac disease with diet can help patients regain bone health.

The study involved 840 people, 266 patients with osteoporosis and 547 without. Nine of the patients with osteoporosis also had celiac disease, compared with only one of those without osteoporosis. Results suggested that 3 percent to 4 percent of people with osteoporosis have it because they have celiac disease.

A Gluten-Free Diet Improves Osteoporosis in Celiac Patients

When patients with celiac disease and osteoporosis were put on a gluten-free diet for one year, they were able to improve not only gastrointestinal symptoms but bone density as well, researchers said.

Celiac disease is an immune reaction to the gluten portion of wheat. It inhibits the intestine's absorption of nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition and gastrointestinal symptoms. Many patients experience weight loss and diarrhea as a result, although some patients experience only mild symptoms and therefore may not know they have the disease. The condition is treated by removing gluten-containing grains from the diet.

In the study, 4.5 percent of people with osteoporosis also had celiac disease, compared with only 0.2 percent of people with healthy bones. Researchers say this occurrence was high enough to justify regularly screening patients with osteoporosis for celiac disease, and if the results come back positive to put them on a gluten-free diet to treat both conditions.

Archives of Internal Medicine February 28, 2005;165(4):393-399

Medical News Today February 28, 2005

Celiac disease was previously believed to be a very rare condition,found in as few as one in 5,000 people. Five years ago, however,I posted a study that showed onein 33 people have celiac disease. Additionally, researchershave found the presence of celiacdisease can increase one's risk of schizophrenia too.

As you probably know I am no fan of wheat. Even though I wascalled "Dr. Fiber" in medical school 25 years ago formy passion about whole wheat products, I have subsequently learnedthat wheat, yes even whole grain organic wheat, can absolutely devastatemany people's health.

Most people don't realize that there are many less than obviousreactions to gluten-containing grains like wheat that can causehealth problems (gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye, oatsand spelt). Medicine has a term for this and it is called sub-clinicalgluten intolerance. Most of us are addicted to breads, bagels, pizza,pasta, waffles and pancakes and would rather die than give themup. And many people do just that, die from insulin-related complicationsfrom eating grains. This is why I strongly recommend anyone withinsulin resistance eliminate grainsas well as sugars from their diet.

I realize that this can be a daunting task, especially if thisis the first time you've been introduced to this notion, but onceyou do it you'll find that not only do your cravings for sugar andgrains stop, but also your body will feel so great that you won'twant to go back.

One of the most difficult things for people to overcome whenchanging their diet is changing their routines that involve certainfoods. In our current culture typical breakfasts are a disaster.Cereal, toast, bagels and pancakes are some of the worst foods mostof us could eat. It takes some getting used to, but expanding yourdiet to include a variety of foods, some that are certainly notthe "norm" in America, is essential and changing yourbreakfast to healthier choices would likely be one of the most importantmodifications you could make in your diet.

To help your mind adapt to this idea, the energy psychologytool EFT is a great tool to use.It will help you to eliminate negative emotions that drive you tohold on to many of the highly processed junk foods and grains thatare helpful to avoid, while helping you overcome emotionally basedfood cravings.

To help your taste buds adapt to this idea, seek out fresh foodsand use them in creative new recipes. If you eat the same few thingsover and over, you're bound to get bored and go back to your oldeating habits. Instead, actively plan to find exciting recipes usingtastes and spices that you haven't experienced before. You can searchthe Internet or local book stores for grain- and sugar-free recipes,and my Total Health Program,is a great starting point.

Related Articles:

Avoiding Wheat and Gluten MayReverse Liver Failure and Hepatitis

Severe Wheat IntoleranceFifty Times More Common Than Previously Thought

Avoiding OsteoporosisCan Start Before Puberty