#Osteoporosis: An AutoImmune Disease?

Fascinating post on Gluten Free Society recently suggesting osteoporosis should be viewed as an autoimmune disease linked to gluten in some cases, according to recent studies.

Gluten Intolerance, Autoimmunity, Nutritional Deficiency, and Bone Loss

A research report in the New England Journal of Medicine identifies antibodies against osteoprotegerin (a protein that prevents bone breakdown) in several patients with celiac disease. This protein is responsible for helping maintain bone density. When it is attacked by the body’s immune system, bone loss becomes accelerated leading to osteoporosis.

Source: N Engl J Med 2009;361:1459-65.

I have said before that anyone with bone loss should be tested for gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease mainly because of the malabsorption problem. Here now is a possibility it is auto-immune in some people and, since we know that gluten is a major link in many auto-immune diseases, this starts to make some sense, doesn’t it?

Here’s a diagram Dr Osborne has done showing the possible issues with gluten and osteoporosis. Note it isn’t always black and white – it could be malabosorption OR autoimmune in origin, but it could just as easily be both:

As you know, I have developed tests for pretty much every stage in that diagram so you can check to see your levels of inflammation, malabsorption, nutrient deficiency and even auto-immunity to several organs (although not bone yet; I’ll work on that now and add it if I can!). You can also do the extremely useful bone marker test which acts a much earlier warning signal for bone loss – when you still have time to reverse it! This is used extensively in Europe but not mainstream UK for some silly reason. I advise every woman over 40 especially to do it; a real no-brainer in my book.

Read the GFS post in full here.

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11 thoughts on “#Osteoporosis: An AutoImmune Disease?

  1. I

    I’ve just been diagnosed with lichen sclerosus which hits post meno women but is also classed as an auto-immune disease – I may have had it a while to be honest but because I’ve been under tremendous stress since March I think that has brought it to the fore. Steroid cream which I’m not really wanting to use – but which I’m using now and then does help but when I asked the Dr would it cure it – he hedged his bets and said “well it will help to clear it up considerably”!

    It’s a weird problem and whilst I cope great during the day – some days I don’t feel it – bedtime is the worst when I get warm but it’s the weird little spots and lumps and bumps that puzzle.

    I was reading where some auto immune diseases are down to stress – well I’ve been on overload for the last 18 months. I’ve read various articles where people say if not treated it can cause cancers “down there” and their coping strategies as I gather it can only be controlled but not cured – maybe it’s down to the fact I had shingles there in 2004 and it’s all connected.

    Any help, assistance or recommendations greatly appreciated

    • Hi Janet, stress most certainly won’t help but if it is an autoimmune disease, then you have to look at what I said about gluten being a major cause in auto-immunity generally. Sticking a cream on it will no doubt help the symptoms but won’t resolve an AI disease; it is a breakdown of the skin barrier.

      I just read this page on patient.co.uk http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Lichen-Sclerosus.htm which suggests it is possibly AI but very certainly inflammatory in action. There is only a small risk of cancer, they say.

      Given it is barrier breakdown, immune and inflammatory, follow the Barrier Plan for 4-6 months would be my advice. For an alternative to steroid cream, you need something anti-inflammatory and healing. I would try Heels Traumeel (from natural dispensary as usual), a fish oil applied as the oil or something like pumpkin seed oil (high in zinc, v healing), perhaps some zinc oxide powder or cream, like Weleda’s nappy rash cream, sounds daft but I know a lot of people who use it for skin problems!

      Good luck.

      • Thanks for that Micki – I’m going to get the cream from Heels because I’m not happy about putting steroid cream on my body because I will absorb it – admittedly maybe a tiny bit but over a period of time it will accumulate and I’m not happy about steroids getting into my body.

        I’ll take a good look at the barrier plan and definitely look at elimating gluten in my diet.

      • Steroids do thin the skin and I am always wary about use on such a delicate area of the body! Good luck – let us know how you get on.

    • Hi Janet,

      I am not a doctor so I can’t give medical advice. Stress is a garbage can ‘diagnosis’ to cover what they know they have caused. (We probably all had the herpes series of viruses shot into us via vaccines) The ability to Fight or Flight is based on the two types of Adrenaline. When those are depleted and you are unable to respond properly then that is what people toss in the rubbish tip as ‘stress’. Adrenals are subjected to toxins, VIRAL INFECTIONS and just plain wearing out. They are very susceptible to tumors and are the most prone to tumors in cattle used as livestock for food. That being said, I used Chromium Cruciferate, vitamin C, calcium Pantothenate (with B complex), Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate and a host of other things to take the edge off of the adrenal fatigue. The single thing that made a marked difference was the use of a proper form of Iodine. Potassium Iodide can slow or stop your heart if you are in adrenal fatigue with sodium wasting in the urine (with potassium retention) so search the web for a suitable alternative. The endocrine system glands all talk to each other but doctors treat humans as if they were cars with interchangeable replaceable parts. Isn’t it interesting that corticosteroids are synthetic analogs of what your body ran out of but they thin your skin and weaken your immune system. Seems like less hair and more of the dog that bit you.

      • That’s interesting about the herpes virus because I had shingles in 2004 in exactly the same place and homeopaths who I’ve dealt with since 2004 all have said to me that I will have the virus still in me so I wonder if there is a connection between having shingles there and now lichen schlerosus – my GP just seemed to pooh pooh it as nothing serious. Yet reading on the internet it can be pretty serious if not treated as it can affect your uretha. I must admit I was having a bit soreness passing water but it’s definitely eased.

      • Janet, you can take a product like this one to help kill off a residual virus – I’ve used it a lot in ME patients – and you can check if it is still active here.

      • I’ll take a look at the products and test – do you only need one bottle to clear it up – does it give you any side effects like die off?

      • You do it at 2-3 per day for 3-4 months consistently and I have found that is usually enough – 3 pots’ worth. Not usually any die-off, no, thank goodness.

  2. I will do – first stop Heels for the cream!

  3. On the topic of bone loss, the malabsorption alone would prevent vitamin D from getting through then there is the matrix metalloproteinases that get deranged, then the osteoblasts/clasts shut down by the pertussis toxin in vaccines, and then my perrenial favorite is the prescriptions drugs that lead to bone loss.

    But…

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/234413-The-Gluten-Thyroid-Connection

    So far beyond any of this is the knowledge that gluten is a molecular mimic of thyroid tissue so just having it floating around in your system will cause autoimmunity. The reason I keep harping on the thyroid is that calcitonin is rarely talked about (mainly because if you read about it in a pathophysiology text you come out stupider than before you read it) but there is calcium regulation that is managed by this important gland. Take the gland out with toxins and the whole system crashes. I am sorry that it has been this long before presenting you with this link, but I think that Miki’s article will provide a good mental anchor for assimilating the scope of the damage that gluten can do and how setting off a single domino can ruin health.

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