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Gluten Intolerance Causes Infertility

This study demonstrates how gluten sensitivity can contribute to infertility and other obstetrical and gynecological problems. Celiac patients who were not compliant with a gluten free diet presented with “delayed menarche, secondary amenorrhea, a higher percentage of spontaneous abortions, anemia and hypoalbuminemia.” Gluten free diet compliance led to normal pregnancies. The author of the study goes on to say that gluten sensitivity should be screened for in women presenting with reproductive disorders.


J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004 Aug;38(7):567-74.

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

In 1997 it was estimated that more than 6 million people had fertility problems. According to the CDC, the number is on the rise with more than 7 million people affected in 2009. Ask any farmer, and they will tell you that the animals diet is extremely important for reproduction success. Ask most doctors about the impact that nutrition has on fertility and you will be told that nutrition doesn’t make much difference. Why is that? Simple – Nutrition is not taught in medical school. Fertility doctors focus on non-natural means to induce pregnancy – from the use of hormones to implantation of petri dish fertilized eggs. We know that children born of couples with fertility problems have a higher incidence of allergies, asthma, developmental problems. This issue poses serious ethical concerns about non-natural treatment options. Is it right to artificially induce pregnancy when the body won’t conceive by natural means? How will this in turn impact the health of the new baby? We know that the two most common causes of infertility are pelvic inflammatory disorders (PID) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Both have been linked to gluten sensitivity. Additionally, gluten intolerance can contribute to low sperm count and low motility in men. Screening for celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (AKA – gluten syndrome) should be the top priority in infertile couples. Focusing on nutritional deficiencies should also be a priority as 100’s of studies have been published on the impact of vitamin and mineral deficiency on fetal development and health outcomes of newborns. The causes of infertility should be better investigated on a case by case basis before inducing pregnancy. If the soon to be parents are not healthy enough to conceive, how can they in turn nourish a new life?

Want to know more about the nutritional influences on fertility? Check out this awesome diagram!

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9 Responses

  1. Really, really good information. Thanks for your insight into this difficult subject. I’ve signed up for your feed and looking forward to the next update. Thank You

  2. (I figured out I was gluten sensitive at age 45 after being very sick for a very long time).

    I had ovarian cysts and wacky hormones from the start. First pregnancy went okay and then I had three late first trimester spontaneous abortions. Broke my heart more each time. Then I had two more kids, one more miscarriage, and a fourth child. All kids have been ill and all are gluten sensitive and now on GF diets. Years ago when my doctor sent me to a specialist about the multiple miscarriages the woman OBGYN came in the room, didn’t even look at me, called me a “habitual aborter” and said that IF I got pregnant again I had a more than 50% chance of miscarrying. I never went back to her (that was right before I got pregnant with kid #2) because all she did was briefly scare me, until I got out into the parking lot (sobbing) and suddenly realized the woman had no idea what was going on with me and was just going by the numbers and her experience. Years later my naturopath explained that it was likely from malabsorption of nutrients from long-term gut damage. I dutifully took my prenatal vitamins and very good care of myself, but had no idea what was wrong. Three of my kids are girls and I’m grateful that they’re all getting better and maybe won’t have the same problems I did (my mom had 3 miscarriages as well, and is gluten sensitive).

  3. I’m a Celiac and I have PCOS. I was misdiagnosed with IBS for 15 years before I was finally tested for Celiac. Once I received the diagnosis of Celiac Disease my infertility issues seemed to make sense. We have had one successful pregnancy producing a healthy and allergy-free toddler!

  4. After trying to get pregnant for more than 18 years with a dozen surgeries, medications, injections, several cycles of IUI and five miscarriages, we finally adopted our children. I wasn’t diagnosed with Celiac for 15 more years. It is comforting to know WHY I was not able to have biological children. “Unexplained infertility” was a hard diagnosis to accept in the 1980’s.

  5. Several treatments for low sperm count, Ayurveda, allopathy, homeopathic, I come to know I failed, but in past,
    20years daily I use to eat wheat bread at night, so gluten presence ruined me, unexplainable infertility with me
    Thanks for above information

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