Your bone health is due to your own personal calcium-economics. Envision your skeleton, made up of over three hundred bones, as a bank where the currency is calcium, vitamin D, and minerals essential for bone health. Throughout your life you make savings deposits of calcium through the foods you eat. After your body absorbs the calcium it requires for normal functions, the additional calcium leftover is then used to make a savings deposit into your skeleton. These savings deposits help build and maintain bone density. But after the additional calcium is stored in the skeleton, if there is any excess calcium your skeleton does not need it will be eliminated through the urine as a payout with no physical benefit, similar to throwing money down the drain. This is why monitoring calcium supplement dosage and timing is important: Taking too much calcium in one dose will produce excess that will be wasted through excretion.
Naturally, calcium savings deposits are closely related to the diet. If the diet is sufficient in calcium, the savings deposits should be at a healthy amount. However, the body’s ability to absorb calcium is inherently linked to the digestive system. When the digestive system does not work properly, as in the case of celiac disease, complications with calcium absorption can occur and impact the body’s calcium economics. In fact, malabsorption issues relating to celiac disease can place the body into a perpetual calcium savings withdrawal mode, where it takes out a loan on your account to serve the needs of the rest of the body. This calcium deficit can occur regardless of age when the disease is left unchecked and a strict gluten-free diet is not being followed. Research suggests there is a clear link between celiac disease and poor bone density, which can result in conditions such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, or decalcified bones known as osteomalacia.
Bone density problems are a prevalent debilitating effect of untreated celiac disease. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or if you highly suspect you have the disease and have not been tested, consult with your doctor on taking a panel of blood tests that reveal how well your blood holds onto the calcium it needs and/or a bone mineral density test. This test will reveal the health and density of your bones in comparison to standards of normal bone density for your age. The results will determine the next step.