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Ludvigsson, J.F., et al., The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms. Gut, 2013. 62(1): p. 43-52.

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A Remarkable Increase in Bone Mineral Density in Celiac Disease

1Department of Medicine, UConn Health, Farmington, CT, 06030, United States of America

2Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, UConn Health, Farmington, CT, 06030, United States of America

International Journal of Celiac Disease. 2017, Vol. 5 No. 2, 77-80
DOI: 10.12691/ijcd-5-2-10
Copyright © 2017 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Karina Szczepanczyk, Hooman Saberinia, Faryal S. Mirza. A Remarkable Increase in Bone Mineral Density in Celiac Disease. International Journal of Celiac Disease. 2017; 5(2):77-80. doi: 10.12691/ijcd-5-2-10.

Correspondence to: Faryal  S. Mirza, Department of Medicine, UConn Health, Farmington, CT, 06030, United States of America. Email:


Introduction: Patients with active celiac disease are more likely to have osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures. Studies show that gluten-free diet may help improve bone mass to some extent. Here, we report a premenopausal woman with celiac disease with progressively declining bone mineral density (BMD) into severe osteoporosis range, who demonstrated a remarkable improvement in BMD after one year of gluten-free diet and oral bisphosphonates. Clinical case: A 44-year old premenopausal female had a low screening bone density at the ankle at 39 years of age, and was confirmed to have low BMD by central DXA, with osteoporosis at the spine and osteopenia at the hips. Celiac antibodies were positive and she was recommended gluten free diet (GFD), which she stopped after a year. Her primary care also started her on supplemental calcium and vitamin D with stabilization of BMD over the next three years. Subsequent BMD 2 years later showed 7.6% decrease in bone density at the lumbar spine (T-score -3) and 5.8% decline at the total hip (T-score -2.7) and she was referred for osteoporosis evaluation. Workup revealed high bone turnover with an elevated PTH of 162pg/mL, low normal serum calcium of 8.8mg/dL, normal vitamin D levels and low urine calcium levels, suggestive of secondary hyperparathyroidism. At this time, review of systems revealed a questionable history of gluten sensitivity, but she denied any diarrhea or bloating. A duodenal biopsy revealed villous atrophy and positive antibodies against tissue transglutaminase, compatible with active celiac disease. She was started on a gluten-free diet and alendronate was also added in view of low bone density and high bone resorption. Bone density performed one year later revealed a remarkable 14.1% increase at the level of the lumbar spine and 8.9% increase at the level of total hip compared to prior BMD. Conclusion: This is the first case of such a remarkable increase in BMD on gluten-free diet and concomitant bisphosphonate use, suggesting a cumulative benefit of this strategy that is greater than using either of these interventions alone.