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Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Coeliac and osteopenia

Hi I have approached members of this forum for advice before and you have all been very helpful, so I'm back for a bit more advice or reassurance.

My son was diagnosed last year with coeliac disease and he has been maintaining a strictly GF diet, he has IBS-d resulting from a long period between symptoms beginning and his diagnosis, resulting in severe anxiety which is now being treated with a low dose of amtryptilene. He seems to be steadily improving.

He had a dexa scan last November and his GP has managed to finally get the results from the hospital which indicate that he has osteopenia, his GP says he has a low risk of fracture due to his age (21) and that he does not require any medication at present.

I was wondering if anyone else had had a similar diagnosis and how they coped with it.

He was found to be low in Vit D so he has been supplementing that and other general multivitamins.

I have said we can have a general look at foods he could eat to increase calcium in his diet when he is home next week as I am aware that dairy foods are not necessarily the best due to their poor absorption rate.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

11 Replies

Hi knitwitty

I'm unsure as to why your GP that your son doesn't medicate as I was diagnosed with oesteopenia and immediately put on Accrete D3 and will be on it for life even tho' my second scan showed that I was now clear.He is doing the right thing in taking vit.D and perhaps the GP thought that the level was low enough to be corrected naturally but if he is worried it may be worth him asking the doctor again?



Hi Dave

Thanks for replying, his GP said his risk of fracture was very low based on his age and the result of his dexa scan, although he hasn't given any actual results in his letter to my son.

His GP is quite good as it was him who pushed for the investigations into coeliac disease after 4 years of being told his symptoms were down to depression and anxiety.

I will get him to ask his GP what the actual results were and encourage him to keep supplementing and eating foods that contain a lot of calcium.

He is 200 miles away at uni, so nagging and cajoling only works to a certain extent!!

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Hi, I have osteoporosis and an extreme form of gluten sensitivity (I get ill from environmental gluten, not just eating). I tried alendronic avid and it made me very depressed so now don’t take any meds.

I recommend structured exercise as one of the key strategies for your son. I take vit d and eat sesame seeds as one of my sources of calcium (I grind it and add to my flour mix). I can’t tolerate dairy. Also six prunes a day help build bone density- astronauts eat them to help reverse bone loss when in space. He should eat fat with his meals to aid absorption of nutrients.(olive, coconut, avocado)

He is still in the bone building stage of his life so hopefully these approaches will help. I think it is wise not to put him in the meds at this age.


Thank you Lois,

I will definitely mention the prunes as I wasn't aware how good they are, I have suggested that he uses broccoli stalks in stir fries and I usually add sesame seeds to chinese type foods so I will encourage him to do more of that sort of cooking.

Would tinned prunes be as good as dried prunes?


actually that's a good point,resistance training [weights] will strengthen the bones


Thank again, I have suggested he makes sure he walks every day for at least 30-60 minutes, before his coeliac diagnosis he was virtually housebound because of the IBS-D symptoms ( he had to defer in his first year at uni because he was so ill) but now he seems to be on the (slow) road to recovery he is venturing out much more.

He has a set of weights here at home and I will suggest he starts to use them!

His younger brother is really into the gym so maybe he will be able to encourage him to join in the summer.

Thanks again for your input.


I can’t see any reason why tinned prunes would be less effective. His low bone density makes sense if he hadnt been out of the house much. Here is the prune data link ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

He could use a backpack while walking (I have a weighted vest) to increase the load on his spine. Hopping is very good for adding load to bones, and if he is feeling weak simple heel drops done throughout the day is a good way to get started. You just raise onto toes and then drop into heels. If he can get his gut health sorted enough to be able to get back to normal activities, takes vit d, adequate minerals and exercise I can see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to get his bones better.

If he goes to the gym he should get specific advice about what not to do until his health is better /bones have had a chance to improve.

Best wishes, hope he can start having normal young person fun soon.


Thanks so much I shall pass on all your good advice, It has been a difficult few years and I want him to have a normal life, which has been hard with his health problems. Fortunately he doesn't drink alcohol so I don't have to worry about him getting drunk!


Celiac's patients have low Magnesium. In addition to Vitamin D, adding magnesium supplements is essential to improve his overall well-being and indeed his bone density. Plus Vitamin K. Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K work in synergy and need to be balanced. draxe.com/magnesium-supplem...

Celiac's, as you know, is an auto-immune condition and once one is present the likelihood for another auto-immune to be there is also very possible. Have they checked his thyroid function and also excluded Hashimoto's? Have they tested his iron and B12 (also low with Celiac's)?

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Hi researcher,

Thanks for replying, since his diagnosis for coeliac disease (last spring) he has been taking a good multivitamin/mineral tablet and extra Vit D ( the Vit D was suggested by a hospital doctor via his GP but no actual results were given and he has been unable to get them from either his GP or the hospital,so we are still unsure whether he was deficient or low in vit D, he has continued supplementing since last year).

The multivitamin was one that contains large amounts of most of the essential vitamins and minerals, I suggested the multi route because I though it unlikely that he would remember/ be motivated enough to take a handful of different tablets so I took the pragmatic decision to just get him one large tablet he has been good about taking that alongside the vit D.

His dexa scan was last Nov/Dec and he has only just got the results so I am hoping that things may have improved slightly as his GP has said his fracture risk is low, based on his age and his results ( again no figures were given so it's a bit hard to judge the severity of the problem).

He is away at uni, so I am not able to have much of an input until he comes home, thanks for taking the time to reply and for your suggestions, I shall take another look at the level of magnesium in his multi's I know they do contain Vit K because I was aware of the need for K an D to be taken together.

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Im just diagnosed coeliac still yet to go over my results im drinking soya milk and going to try lacto free cheese. Still yet to sort out vitamins and calcium. But i may get some spirulina and a juicer to help my body recover. Feel so under nourished and also have hypothyroid which confuses things. Ive lost alot of work as self employed and been so fuzzy impossible to work at times. Hope your son is managing ok. All the best.


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