Body composition and bone mineral density in untreated and treated patients with celiac disease

Bone. 1995 Feb;16(2):231-4. doi: 10.1016/8756-3282(94)00034-w.


Body composition and bone mineral density (BMD) were studied by X-ray absorptiometry in 20 untreated and 12 treated women with celiac disease, as well as in 85 age-matched control women. Untreated patients had a significantly lower body weight, fat mass, lean tissue mass and BMD at the lumbar spine and total skeleton compared to controls (p < 0.001 for all parameters). Treated patients had also a significantly lower body weight (p < 0.01) fat mass (p < 0.05) and bone mineral density at lumbar spine and total skeleton (p < 0.05) compared with controls, but lean tissue mass was not diminished. However, treated patients had a significantly higher body weight, fat mass and BMD of the total skeleton compared with untreated celiac patients (p < 0.01 for all parameters). Serum alkaline phosphatase levels were increased in untreated patients but serum 250HD was normal. In conclusion, celiac disease causes a global and almost universal reduction of fat mass and BMD. The results of this cross-sectional study suggest that osteopenia does not seem to be completely restored by adequate treatment. Alteration of vitamin D metabolism was not the cause of osteopenia in the majority of patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / diet therapy
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / etiology
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / physiopathology
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Calcifediol / blood
  • Calcium / blood
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Reference Values


  • Biomarkers
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcifediol
  • Calcium