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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;60(3):358-63.

Bone mineral density in children with celiac disease. Effect of a Gluten-free diet.

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Metabolismo Cálcico y Oseo, Endocrinología, Hospital de Pediatría J.P. Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



To assess the degree of osteopenia in children with celiac disease (CD) at the time of diagnosis and the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD).


Longitudinal and prospective study.


In total, 24 children (18 girls, six boys) diagnosed with CD by means of an intestinal biopsy were included in the study. Mean+/-s.d. age was 4.9+/-4.3 years. In all, 16 patients were under (2.20+/-0.82 year) and eight were over the age of 4 years (10.30+/-2.90 year). The time between the first symptoms and diagnosis was 17.30+/-24.70 months (range: 2-109 months). Spine bone mineral content (BMC), area and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured by DXA at baseline and 1.17+/-0.93 years after GFD.


Before treatment, mean+/-s.d. BMD was 0.46+/-0.13 g/cm(2), the BMD Z-score was -1.36+/-1.20, and was below -1 s.d. in 14 patients (58%). BMC, area and BMD increased significantly on GFD. BMD increased from 0.46+/-0.13 to 0.55+/-0.13 g/cm(2) (P<0.001). BMD Z-score improved from -1.36+/-1.20 to -0.23+/-1.20 after GFD. However, BMD increased more than 1 s.d. in 15 of the 16 children under the age of 4 years, a similar increase was only observed in four of the eight children aged more than 4 years, some of whom did not follow GFD strictly. Height and weight increased significantly with GFD (P<0.001) and the increase correlated positively with the increase in BMD.


Axial BMD below -1 s.d. was found in 58% of children with celiac disease. Axial bone mass reverted to normal values in most children under the age of 4, who had low bone mass, all of whom followed GFD strictly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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