Osteoporosis and gluten sensitivity

Bone health can be affected by the consumption of gluten. None of us have the enzymes to properly break down gluten. If you are celiac or ultrasensitive the long term, downstream effects can leave quite a trail of bread crumbs. Read on…

Your bones are protein rich multi-mineral pillars of strength. They need multiple nutrients. Nutrients you must be able to absorb from your food.

Osteoporosis is a low bone density state associated with increased risk for fractures. Risk factors in men and women include smoking, family history of fracture, age greater than 65 years (postmenopausal decline in estrogen in women), and low but also high BMI particularly in men(3). Osteoporosis may also result from chronic treatment with glucocorticoids (steroids), gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes mellitus (T1D, T2D), rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, gluten enteropathy, multiple myeloma and other hematologic disorders.

Gluten sensitivity is often under-diagnosed. If comprehensive testing were performed seven out of ten people would be found they would be healthier if they adhered to a gluten free diet. Whether celiac or non-celiac, gluten sensitivity can occur with or without the diarrhea and malabsorption symptoms. The main organ of nutrient absorption (small intestine) is damaged by gluten. For those unaffected, they heal from the damage in about twenty minutes. For those whom are sensitive, it can take up to five hours. Then it is time for the next meal. With the loss of oral tolerance, years of damage may already be done.

In the case of osteoporosis, the obstacle to wellness may be gluten.

Ask your health care provider what’s best for you. Long term health may involve:

1) strict removal of gluten from the diet

2)supplementation to restore nutrient status,

3)balance the gut microbiome

4) heal the damage to the gut lining.

5) support specifically with a multi-mineral, VitaminD3 and K2 bone formula

A diagnosis of osteoporosis, especially in those under the age of 65, begs for celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity testing.

More than a tummy ache

Evidently, gluten sensitivity can be more than a tummy ache. Long term, downstream effects of chronic inflammation and nutrient malabsorption caused by gluten injury include (2):

  • Skin conditions like dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Gluten ataxia which is balance or gait problems
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Thyroid disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Anaemia from poor iron or B12 absorption
  • Gallstones and diarrhea from inability to release CCK from the damaged small intestine
  • Osteoporosis
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Any organ from the central nervous system
  • Joints
  • Liver- elevated enzymes
  • Teeth- discoloured or poor development of enamel
  • Oral aphthous ulcers
  • Bloating, regurgitation, and or gas after eating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained infertility (male or female)

Do you need help understanding the effects gluten has on chronic disease?

Naturopathic Medicine exists to strengthen and encourage optimal health. It is a practice that addresses the fundamentals of disease. It honours and cooperates with the healing power of nature. 

If you seek a caring professional who is a registered naturopathic doctor in Guelph with a functional medicine approach, you’ve come to the right place.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, author, HeartMath® Certified Practitioner and a level 2 Certified Gluten Free Practitioner. She holds the designation of ADAPT Trained Practitioner from Kresser Institute, the only functional medicine and ancestral health training company. Her focus is on digestive health and emotional regulation. Her passion is to stimulate the healing power within.


(1)Dos Santos, S., & Lioté, F. (2017). Osteoarticular manifestations of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten hypersensitivity. Joint bone spine84(3), 263–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbspin.2016.09.007

(2)Leffler, D. A., Green, P. H., & Fasano, A. (2015). Extraintestinal manifestations of coeliac disease. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology12(10), 561–571. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2015.131

(3)Rosen, C. J. (2020). The Epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Osteoporosis. In K. R. Feingold (Eds.) et. al., Endotext. MDText.com, Inc.