Can coeliac disease lead to osteoporosis?
With a confirmed diagnosis of coeliac disease, an examination of the bone density should be also be carried out. For those affected by the disease the intake of food containing gluten leads to an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the small intestine. Nutrients are therefore reabsorbed only partially in the intestine and as a consequence this often leads to a vitamin and mineral deficiency. Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium are however very important for healthy bones. The inflammation reaction has a further negative impact on bone density. That is why people affected by coeliac disease have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. After the recovery of the mucous membrane of the small intestine achieved by sticking to a gluten-free diet, all vitamins and minerals can be absorbed again without problems. The German Association for nutrition recommends a daily intake of about 1,000 mg of calcium through food for adults. The following food items are especially rich in calcium:
- milk products: milk, yoghurt, curd, (3 portions a day are enough to meet the needs of an adult)
- calcium rich mineral water
- green vegetables (broccoli, leek, fennel)
In addition to calcium, it is important to get enough vitamin D; this ensures that calcium is absorbed from the intestine. Furthermore regular activity should take place in order to stimulate bone metabolism.