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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr;66(4):488-95. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.176. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Vitamin D and K status influences bone mineral density and bone accrual in children and adolescents with celiac disease.

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Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



Children with celiac disease (CD) are at risk for decreased bone mineral density (BMD) because of fat-soluble vitamin malabsorption, inflammation and/or under-nutrition. The study objective was to determine the interrelationships between vitamin K/D status and lifestyle variables on BMD in children and adolescents with CD at diagnosis and after 1 year on the gluten-free diet (GFD).


Children and adolescents aged 3-17 years with biopsy proven CD at diagnosis and after 1 year on the GFD were studied. BMD was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Relevant variables included: anthropometrics, vitamin D/K status, diet, physical activity and sunlight exposure.


Whole-body and lumbar-spine BMD-z scores were low (< or = -1) at diagnosis (10-20%) and after 1 year (30-32%) in the children, independent of symptoms. Whole-body BMD-z scores (-0.55±0.7 versus 0.72±1.5) and serum levels of 25(OH) vitamin D (90.3±24.8 versus 70.5±19.8 nmol/l) were significantly lower in older children (>10 years) when compared with younger children (< or =10 years) (P<0.001). Forty-three percent had suboptimal vitamin D status (25(OH)-vitamin D <75 nmol/l) at diagnosis; resolving in nearly half after 1 year on the GFD. Twenty-five percent had suboptimal vitamin K status at diagnosis; all resolved after 1 year.


Children and adolescents with CD are at risk for suboptimal bone health at time of diagnosis and after 1 year on GFD; likely due in part to suboptimal vitamin D/K status. Therapeutic strategies aimed at optimizing vitamin K/D intake may contribute to improved BMD in children with CD.

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