How does celiac disease affect height growth?

by   |   May 02, 2024

Are you wondering whether your child may fall behind their peers in growth because of their celiac disease? You are not alone because this article will involve you in exploring the connection between celiac disease and the growth of children. We will explain the overview of celiac disease and its effects on nutrient absorption, which is responsible for growth and development, and highlight the importance of early diagnosis for healthy growth.

Celiac Disease: A Hidden Threat to Nutrient Absorption

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder upon ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. If you have celiac disease, it is more than just an intolerance; it is a genetically predisposed medical condition when gluten triggers the immune system to attack your guts (or small intestine) mistakenly.

As far as it is concerned, celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it can be passed down from generation to generation. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, individuals with their first-degree relatives exposed to celiac disease are likely to experience a 1/10 risk of developing celiac disease in their lifetime.

Why does the small intestine matter? In fact, your body relies strongly on a tiny but mighty organ called the small intestine to absorb nutrients, such as a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, from the food we eat. These are the building blocks for optimal growth and development, especially in children and adolescents.

Gradually, celiac disease throws a wrench to this vital process. Then the body’s provoking reaction to gluten confuses the immune system, which directly damages the lining of the small intestine. Specifically, the villi lined with small finger-like projections of the small intestine, which acts like a super-absorber, is impaired. As a result, the flattened and damaged villi prevent the body from properly absorbing essential nutrients needed for growth. No matter how much food you eat, without villi, your body is unable to maintain the availability of

Therefore, the injured small intestine leads to malabsorption, indicating the inability to effectively absorb nutrients as it should. This becomes a major issue facing children and adolescents who need an incremental energy level and essential nutrients to thrive and strive strongly during their formative years.


Diagnosing Celiac Disease in Children

Celiac disease affects people in different ways, often hiding behind a veil of common symptoms like chronic diarrhea, constipation, abdominal abdominal pain, fatigue, and even irritability. Besides, there are other signs of early celiac disease, such as weight loss, pale, bad-smelling stool, anemia, teeth changing color, numbing in the legs, or muscle cramps.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can cause further complications in other parts of the body. Girls or women may experience infertility, miscarriage, or missed menstrual periods due to the drastic loss in weight. Meanwhile, half of adults with celiac disease suffer from elevated liver enzymes, skin rash, osteoporosis, headache, joint pains, and so on. Children’s puberty is also delayed by the deficiency in vitamins and minerals, leading to the final short stature.

Other long-term health effects of celiac disease are associated with autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Down syndrome. Neurological conditions also appear, like epilepsy, migraines, heart disease, and intestinal cancers. Indeed, individuals with celiac disease possess a double greater risk of coronary artery disease and a fourfold increasing risk of developing small bowel cancers.

How Does Celiac Disease Affect Height Growth?

Gluten is a protein that can be found in many food products, such as wheat-based products (bread, pasta, cereals, crackers, cookies, cakes, and pastries), barley (barley flour, barley soup, beer varieties), and rye (rye bread, pumpernickel bread, cereals). Other foods may potentially contain gluten, such as soy sauce, salad dressing, oats, processed meat, and malted products. Though these foods are naturally gluten-free, they can be contaminated with gluten residues obtained from processing.

Vitamin deficiency is the first and foremost factor causing other serious complications for celiac patients. Avoiding these products in the daily dietary regime impairs the absorption of essences, which are crucial for the overall development of the body. They are the main sources of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Calcium is the building blocks for strong bones and healthy growth plates. Without Calcium, there is an increasing risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  • The reduced absorption of vitamin D from diet contributes greatly to emerging bone health issues. Your body will also not effectively store and utilize Calcium effectively for building strong bones.
  • Insufficient protein intake may not only disrupt growth hormone production, which is a critical factor involved in bone formation and height but also decrease muscle mass. Besides, the impaired absorption of protein can lead to the delay in puberty of children by affecting the timing and rate of height growth during adolescence.
  • Iron is the main substance producing hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body. Therefore, when the levels of iron are low, the body is unable to produce enough hemoglobin. The resulting iron deficiency anemia leaves you tired, fatigued, headache, weak, dizzy, short of breath, and loss of appetite. Anemia directly causes delay in growth, decreased physical activities, and poor nutrition. In the long run, it can indirectly stunt height growth potential.


Catching Celiac Disease Early: Key to Healthy Growth

Early diagnosis is key to preventing the potential harms of celiac disease on the growth and development, including height of children. Fortunately, there are ways to identify celiac disease with ease. For instance, prioritize blood tests to look for the number of specific antibodies (infection-fighting cells) in response to gluten. If there are any symptoms suggested of celiac disease, your doctor might recommend an intestinal biopsy by taking a tiny tissue sample from the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.

Once celiac disease is identified, the doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment for you to restore healthy growth. Strictly adherence to a gluten-free diet or eliminating gluten for good is the only way to save your life. Removing gluten from your diet is challenging and confusing, so consult a dietitian specializing in celiac disease to ensure adequate vitamins and minerals needed for growth from alternative resources.

By cutting down gluten, your body will slowly recover from celiac disease symptoms within a few days or weeks. It normally takes the injured guts (the small intestine) to completely heal in 3 to 6 months, with your villi back and properly functioning. In the case of an older patient, it may take up to around 2 years for full recovery. For children and adolescents suffering from chronic gluten intolerance, stopping eating foods with gluten will help them thrive in height normally

How to grow taller


Jay Lauer is a renowned physician and nutrition expert specializing in helping people achieve optimal health and wellness. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Lauer has become a trusted voice, particularly in the field of natural height growth.

Dr. Lauer believes a nutrient-rich diet and healthy lifestyle are essential for maximizing growth potential. She develops personalized nutrition plans incorporating foods and supplements that support bone development and works closely with patients to achieve their height goals.

In addition to height growth, Dr. Lauer is an expert in weight loss, disease prevention, and overall wellness. She regularly shares her expertise through media outlets like The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Dr. Lauer recognized the need for a comprehensive resource on natural height increase and created the website The site provides proven strategies, nutrition plans, exercises, and support to help individuals feel more confident by achieving their desired height naturally and improving their quality of life.

Researcher Locations: 33 Whitehall Street, New York

Email: [email protected]

Education & Training Fellowship: Pediatric Psychology – Nemours Children’s Clinic – Jacksonville, 2003 Internship: Child Psychology – University of Florida, 2002 Board Certifications: American Board of Professional Psychology

Areas of Research:



Can skipping meals affect height growth?
by Jay Lauer   |   May 14, 2024
Have you ever rushed out of the house skipping breakfast since you are about to be late for school or work? Or ignore lunch because of your ...
The average height for 7th grader
by Jay Lauer   |   May 12, 2024
Height is the fundamental measure of growth in children and adolescents, especially during their growth years. Learning the average height ...
Can weightlifting stunt growth?
by Jay Lauer   |   May 08, 2024
You are a fitness enthusiast who wants to build muscles and strength from early days at school but is worried about whether weight-lifting ...
At what age do people stop growing taller?
by Jay Lauer   |   May 08, 2024
Each person has their timeline, it is also the same for the timing and the speed of growth they might experience. In other words, it is ...