Celiac Disease and Calcium Deficiency


Calcium is a vital nutrient for proper bodily function. But why? What does this soft, gray mineral have to do with human function? Well, for one, it strengthens bones and teeth. The bones and teeth are actually where calcium is stored in the body! But aside from that, calcium has many important jobs. Calcium also ensures proper muscle function– it is one of the reasons that muscles are able to move and react so quickly. It helps bloods cells to travel by aiding the blood vessels in their efforts to distribute certain hormones throughout the body. Also, it speeds up the reaction of nerves to outside stimuli. As you can see, calcium is a vital nutrient to helping our bodies work.

Calcium Deficiency

Because calcium is so important in multiple bodily functions, calcium deficiency is a serious issue. At first, it is hard to detect because the body draws on the calcium that it has stored in the bones. Left unattended, it can lead to dizziness, loss of feeling in extremities, headaches, and arrhythmia, among other things. One of the most serious consequences of long-term calcium deficiency is a disorder called osteopenia or osteoporosis. Osteopenia is when your bone mass is abnormally low. This can be extremely dangerous, leading to easily broken bones. It is especially dangerous in children; because they are not yet fully developed, having low bone mass has the potential to impede their growth, which could have an impact on them for their whole life.

One Common Cause Of Calcium Deficiency

Though low intake can contribute to calcium deficiency, often, there is another culprit behind it: an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Celiac disease is provoked by the presence of gluten in the digestive system; the immune system wrongly recognizes it as a threat and sends antibodies to go and attack. The antibodies then proceed to attack and damage the intestinal walls and villi, making it effectively impossible for the celiac patient to absorb nutrients as effectively as if they had intact villi. Celiac disease and calcium deficiency have been linked in many cases. Celiac disease is considered a known cause of osteopenia; in fact, when a patient shows up showing signs of osteopenia, they are often tested for celiac disease. The inability to absorb nutrients means that calcium deficiency in celiac patients is usually difficult to treat; one option is to begin taking celiac calcium supplements. Because these gluten-free supplements are specially made for celiac patients, they are typically made with the most easily absorbable form of the mineral. Be careful, though! Always check with your doctor before beginning any calcium supplements for celiac patients. Calcium supplements don’t mix well with certain unrelated medications, and it is important to make sure that you are getting the right amount of calcium.

The Organic and Healthy Food Market

Recent research by market analysts vision suggests four in ten adults now choose organic options on a regular basis. Organic supermarkets in England are booming and Europe’s biggest organic event, the Biofach exhibition in Germany in getting bigger every year. Unfortunately, at the moment retailers are charging artificially high prices. I was in Tesco last week which is a rare occurrence as I shop locally where possible, and I nearly died when I saw the prices being charged for organic yogurt and eggs compared to the non-organic brands. Its about time that the government started to investigate these organic suppliers and supermarkets to see who is ripping us off! Encouraging competition is not always a good idea as this can drives down prices (good for the consumer) which can put organic suppliers out of business if they have small profit margins. I understand that we have to pay more for organic produce because there are more crop failures due to the fact that the farmers cannot use pesticides, but what is an acceptable percentage and does this vary from product to product. Should organic fish be 10 percent more expensive than non organic fish and vegetables 20 per cent etc?

Once only available in small health shops or farmers markets, organic foods are becoming much more widely available. In the past 10 years sales of organic food in the UK have increased over 10-fold from £100m in 1993/94 to nearly £1.4bn in 2004/05. This large growth is predicted to continue, and many companies are jumping into the market. Sales through farmers markets and farm shops have grown faster than any other retail outlet. Organic food and drink now accounts for 1.2 per cent of the total retail market (Source Soil Association).

There are two types of organic foods.

Fresh food

Fresh food is seasonal and perishable. Vegetables and fruits are the most available type of organic, fresh food, and are closely associated with organic farming. They are often purchased directly from growers, at farmers markets, supermarkets or through specialty food stores. Organic meat, eggs, dairy are also available.

Processed food

Processed food accounts for most of the items in a supermarket. Often, within the same store, both organic and conventional versions of products are available, and the price of the organic version is usually higher as already mentioned. Most processed organic food comes from larger companies producing and marketing products like organic baby food, organic beer, organic pasta or other convenience foods.

How do I know its organic?

The term organic is defined by law – all organic food production and processing is governed by a strict set of rules. Look for symbols such as the Soil Association symbol for your guarantee of the highest organic standards. The Soil Association organic symbol is the UK’s largest and most recognizable trademark for organic produce. Wherever you see it you can be sure that the food you have purchased has been produced and processed to strict and rigorous animal welfare and environmental standards. Other symbols to look out for include the Organic Food Federation and Certified Organic Ingredients.