Fracture risk is low in folks with CD but the risk is higher than the general population, according to Dr. Rupa Mukherjee Gastroenterologist at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Hospital. She reports “up to 70% of CD patients have low bone density,” especially the newly diagnosed and poorly treated. This may be due in part to malabsorption of nutrients including zinc, vitamin D, and of course, calcium.
Other factors such as menopause, concomitant thyroid disease, inflammatory cytokines and autoantibodies also play a role. Thus, screening for osteopenia or osteoporosis is helpful, and of course, no improvement in bone density can occur without following a gluten free diet (GFD). But it takes about a year of following the gluten free diet before results can be seen on the DEXA (bone) scans. And adults over 30, according to Dr. Fasano, do not show improvement in bone density.