Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease and its link to infertility

In my years of practice, I have seen a pattern with clients who come to me with concerns of recurrent miscarriages or have troubles conceiving.  Many of them suffer with food intolerances that they may not even be aware of.  Sometimes there are no obvious signs such as bloating or stomach pain. There may be  effects on the immune system resulting in the rejection or attack on early pregnancies, or there may be effects to how the body is absorbing nutrients resulting in a malnourished state for the woman or man.

There is now more research in the area of “unexplained infertility” and there is growing awareness that this diagnosis may indeed be linked to  undiagnosed celiac disease (gluten intolerance).

The following link is taken from Canadian Celiac Association.  Ralph E. Warren on their advisory board states , “Nutritional deficiencies from malabsorption in CD may affect reproduction. Iron, folate, zinc and selenium deficiencies have been implicated. Autoimmune and hormonal factors are likely contributory, but precise mechanisms are unclear.” 

An older article from the journal : Human Reproduction; 14(11):2759-61 1999. spoke to this.  12 years ago!  We need to encourage more doctors to acknowledge this connection and include testing in a general fertility work-up.

Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor about diagnostic testing that is available touncover many food intolerance including gluten intolerance and nutritional deficiencies.  There may be an simple answer to your ongoing struggle with fertility.  We just need to look for it.

For those who want to read more medical articles on this topic , look for
1. Taylor A. ABC of subfertility. BMJ 2003;327: 434-6. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Sanders DS, Patel D, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A, McCloskey EV, Hadjivassiliou M, et al. A primary care cross-sectional study of undiagnosed adult coeliac disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2003;4: 407-13.
3. Meloni GF, Dessole S, Vargiu N, Tomasi PA, Musumeci S. The prevalence of coeliac disease in infertility. Hum Reprod 1999;14: 2759-61. [PubMed]
4. Collin P, Vilska S, Heinonen PK, Hallstrom O, Pikkarainen P. Infertility and coeliac disease. Gut1996;39: 382-4. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
5. Farthing MJ, Rees LH, Edwards CR, Dawson AM. Male gonadal function in coeliac disease: sex hormones. Gut 1983;24: 127-35. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Vivienne Guy, ND                                                                                                                                Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

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