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Study Shows How Gluten Stunts Growth in Children

Can gluten stunt growth in children?

Can gluten stunt growth in children?Can gluten stunt growth in children? It is well established that patients with celiac disease can have wasting and malnutrition. Many of them have a hard time putting or keeping weight on. Traditionally, the thought process behind why this occurs has been focused on chronic diarrhea, and nutritional loss due to intestinal damage. But now researchers link an autoimmune process to growth stunting in children with gluten sensitivity. The study below illustrates a newly discovered mechanism of how gluten can stunt the growth process in children by creating antibodies against the pituitary gland…

CONCLUSIONS: In this paper we have shown a remarkable prevalence of positive APA in newly diagnosed CD patients. High APA titers are associated with height impairment, likely mediated by a reduction of IGF-1, thus suggesting that autoimmune pituitary process could induce a linear-growth impairment.


Commentary on “anti-pituitary antibodies in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease: a novel finding contributing to linear growth”. [Am J Gastroenterol. 2010]

Gluten Disrupts Hormones

There are numerous studies that illustrate how gluten can impact hormones. This study identified gluten as a culprit in inducing an autoimmune reaction against the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of a number of hormones. One of them is – Growth Hormone. This study suggests that the autoimmune attack might lead to a reduction in the hormone IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1). This hormone is critical for proper growth in children.

This is a very important finding. The walk away message is that children who are suffering with failure to thrive (FTT) or children who are not growing on track should be screened for gluten sensitivity. In my own practice, I commonly see accelerated growth in children after implementing a gluten free diet. For more on how gluten impacts children watch the following video:

Always looking out for you,

Dr. O – AKA the Gluten Free Warrior

As always, if you found this information helpful, please share it with someone you care about.

15 Responses

  1. My daughter is now 11 and has a non-specified developmental delay (autism spectrum?) label. A couple of irregular EEG results when she wss younger did not clearly indicate any seizures, I was told. Then I was advised from the Neurologist to follow their ADHD program. We recently had some tests done through a naturopath’s office: IgG4 delayed food allergies. Over half the items tested fell into the “moderate” reaction range. Eggs, broccoli, garlic, green bean, kidney bean into the “avoid” range. I wish I could afford more tests and consult with a local physician about true health. Do you know of anyone in the Vancouver BC area? I appreciate any information you can offer. Thanks, Helena

  2. My two cents: I am a mom of an 11 yr old autistic boy. He had several mild allergies plus an allergy to peanuts. He has been taking LDA allergy shots for the past several years and has greatly improved. The Low Dose Allergy shots include hundreds of allergens that cover a lot of different allergies. You don’t have to get a shot for each thing. You should look it up as an option. It’s easier than regular allergy shots. He’s still on a gluten free diet though, since it’s just not healthy. This video is new information for me and will be very helpful.

  3. You had me until you said there is a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. The Wakefield study was found to be fraudulent and his findings unreproducible. Now I cannot trust that what you lecture is based upon science.

      1. Omg you tell her!! I LOVE your straightforwardness!! Mary busted !! Go drink some thermerosol! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  4. My 6 years old boy is gluten intolerant, he had been in a gluten free diet since he was 4 years old, but he is still very skinny and very short at the point that his doctor wanted to put him in grow hormone, but I don’t like it, I want a know if is something else that I can do to make his grow hormone active. Please I am desperate, I am willing to travel to North California to your office if this is what I need to do. Thanks

  5. My 15-year old son is thin and small. He’s thin but he eats a lot tho he was in gluten free diet since he was 5 years old. For his height, we tried to give him some vitamins for his growth factor but it doesn’t seem to be effective. Do you think it is advisable for him to take HGH or some HGH therapy in his early age? I’ve researched some growing HGH vitamins and I was encouraged to buy it for him.

  6. Hi, I’m interested in a recommendation for test in NJ. We have been to the Chung institute and I’m looking for blood test. My son is less than 3% for hieight and weight .His bone scan says he’s 7-8 years old but he’s 11. He’s been on asthma meds since he was a baby. He’s a good student,good energy, no bowel problems. He’s a little anxious at times and very pale and thin with dark circles. I try to have him go gluten and dairy free. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. It’s very stressful and they sneak him food behind my back. He is celiac negative. Any recommendations? Test?

  7. Hello. I’m just starting my research on remaining gluten free for my daughter with Turners Syndrome. We decided against the HGH shots for her but her endo suggested she stay off gluten so as not to prohibit growth. I’d love to learn more about other ways to encourage her own body to produce HGH. We want to give her every possibly chance at growth without flooding her body each night with synthetic drugs and all the other garbage that goes into those shots.

  8. Hello. I’m a 15 year old girl and think i have gluten sensitivity. I have researched about it A LOT. I have a small stature and i was struggling with constipation, several allergies. I am gluten free for 3 months and i got 3 cm taller. Should i keep going? I need your advice. In Turkey, it is not trustable to see a doctor about gluten sensitivity. There is a lot of missdiagnosed. Also, Dr. Osborne thank you very much.

    1. There is no human requirement to consume gluten and grains. So staying on the diet does not cause health problems for you. As a general rule, if you feel better going gluten free, listen to your body. If you suspect malnutrition, you should follow up with a doctor who is qualified to help assess you and guide you.
      All the best,
      Dr. O

  9. Hello, My 13 year old son has fallen off his growth chart a bit. Went from 15th percentile in height to less 7th/8th. Doc ran some blood tests and Celiac was suggested. Two numbers were out of the normal range, but not severely. We are going for an endoscopy on Monday. Do you have any advice? My husband and I are not tall people, not many inches to spare. I would like to maximize his height potential. Thank you for your consideration, Alix

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