|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
Celiac Disease May Increase the Risk of Bone Fractures
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease of the digestive tract. When people with this disease eat foods containing gluten, little bulges occur in the small intestine. It results in abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms. In addition, the damaged intestine will have problems absorbing nutrients from food. Low absorption of nutrients like calcium and vitamin D can affect bone growth and repair. Overtime this can contribute to osteoporosis.
Although celiac disease is known to reduce vitamin D and calcium levels in the blood, the link between celiac and bone damage itself is not clear. Researchers wanted to examine this relationship. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that celiac disease was associated with an increased risk of bone fractures.
About the Study
The systematic review included 16 observational studies in which bone fracture outcomes were compared in individuals with and without celiac disease in order to evaluate the association between celiac disease and the risk of bone fractures.
A meta-analysis of the studies revealed that celiac disease is associated with an increased risk of any fracture as well as an increased risk of hip fractures. There was no significant difference in the risk of fractures of the arms, hands, legs, and feet. .
How Does this Affect You? TOP
A meta-analysis is a mathematical method that combines the results of several smaller studies in order to improve the reliability of the results. Studies chosen for inclusion in a meta-analysis must be similar in a number characteristics in order to accurately combine their results. In this analysis, the observational studies were not similar enough to be combined and compared, making the end result less reliable. The trials were also observational studies which can show some potential link between two factors but cannot show cause and effect. So while this study showed a potential connection between celiac disease and increased risk of bone fractures, it can not confirm that celiac was the cause.
If you have celiac disease, talk to your doctor about health risks associated with celiac. Finding an effective treatment while maintaining a healthy diet may help decrease your risk of secondary issues. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your bone health. Your doctor may recommend taking some steps to help protect your bones such as:
Heikkilä K, Pearce J, et al. Celiac disease and bone fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jan;100(1):25-34.
Osteoporosis causes and risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated October 12, 2015. Accessed November 10, 2015.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.