Food For Healthy Bones

Irma Jennings - INHC - Holistic Bone Coach

What Gluten Does to Your Bones

September 22, 2014
Irma Jennings

Are bagels putting holes in your bones?

Well, maybe that sounds a little crazy but stick with me on this.

When I say bagels, I’m really talking about the gluten in bagels and other wheat products.  That includes bread, pasta, donuts, cupcakes, cookies, and a multitude of processed foods that add gluten.

Gluten and Your BonesMore and more experts are pointing the finger at gluten when it comes to inflammation in your body.  And inflammation is at the root of every chronic disease from diabetes to heart disease and cancer.

And osteoporosis.

You see, when you get right down to it, osteoporosis is a chronic degenerative disease.  It causes bone tissue to lose density and become weak. And gluten can be a big trigger for the inflammation doctors find in osteoporosis patients.

I recently listened to a fascinating lecture by Dr. Tom O’Bryan.  He’s a chiropractor and international expert on “gluten-related disorders” like celiac disease.

He points out that you don’t have to be diagnosed with celiac disease to have a problem with gluten.  Dr. O’Bryan estimates that gluten sensitivity is 6 to 20 times more common than celiac disease.

And for many of us that means eating gluten foods sets us aflame.  Dr. O’Bryan describes it as “throwing gasoline on the fire” of inflammation.  And of all the foods in your kitchen, he says gluten is the one that most commonly causes inflammation.

How does gluten affect your bones?

It may not eat away at your bones directly but here’s what happens when your body tries to digest gluten.

Your intestines are lined with microvilli.  Dr. O’Bryan calls it “shag carpeting.”  Some of these microvilli are designed to absorb calcium.  Some absorb magnesium.  Others absorb fats or proteins.

But every time you eat gluten, it breaks down the microvilli.

Now, when you’re young and healthy, your gut repairs that damage pretty quickly.  But if you eat enough gluten over enough years, or if your digestive tract isn’t very healthy, eventually your gut can’t heal itself from gluten damage.

And when those microvilli don’t recover, they can’t do the job they’re supposed to do.  So they don’t absorb calcium.  They don’t absorb magnesium or vitamins D or K.  They don’t absorb the other nutrients your bones need to rebuild themselves.

In fact, the bone-gluten connection is so strong that a 2006 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine says ALL osteoporosis patients should be checked for celiac disease since that could very well be the cause of their osteoporosis.[i]

The study found that osteoporosis patients have a significantly higher rate of celiac disease.  And when the doctors put patients with celiac on a gluten-free diet, their bone density improved dramatically.  The gluten-free diet allowed the gut to heal.  And that permitted normal absorption of calcium and vitamin D to reverse bone loss.

So how do you know if you are sensitive to gluten?

You can test yourself for gluten sensitivity at home.  All it takes is a simple elimination diet.  For 3 or 4 weeks don’t eat anything containing gluten or dairy.

Why am I saying no dairy?

It turns out that 50% of celiac patients have “cross-reactivity” to dairy.  In other words you could be sensitive to BOTH gluten and dairy.  If you stop eating gluten but continue with dairy, your body may still be getting signals that you’re eating gluten.  Your gluten antibodies can stay elevated.

That’s why you need to eliminate both.

But before you even start your diet, keep a food diary.  Record on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst) how you’re feeling while you’re still eating wheat and dairy. Label each column with the following: gas, bloating diarrhea, constipation, general fatigue, brain fog, trouble sleeping,  joint pain.  Add the total for all the columns.  Then record how you feel during your diet when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free.  You may notice you feel much better and have more energy.

At the end of 3 or 4 weeks, start eating dairy again.  Keep writing in your food diary.  A few days later add back wheat products.  If you notice symptoms returning you may have a gluten sensitivity.

You can also get a blood test.  Find a functional medicine doctor who understands food sensitivity tests.  At a minimum you want to get tested for IgA and IgG antibodies.  You may also get tested for IgM and IgE antibodies.

Dr. O’Bryan recommends using Cyrex Labs.  You can get more information at

For more information about gluten sensitivity visit Dr. O’Bryan’s website

What do you do with that extra bread?

Recipe: A Gluten-Free Bone Building Vegan Recipe That Everyone LOVES!

Amy’s Almond Flatbread Recipe

This recipe was a great hit at my cooking class.  The leftovers lasted only a nano second


~2 pieces of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet

~ 3 1/2 cups of almond meal

~ 1 tsp sea salt

~ 3 TBS chia seeds soaked in 6 TBS water

~ 2 tsp dried thyme*

~ 2 tsp garlic powder

~ 2 tsp sesame seeds


~ Kneed all ingredients to form a dough

~ Place dough on a sheet of parchment and press it out a little to start forming a rectangle

~ Place second parchment sheet on top

~ Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a thin layer, less than 1/4 inch

~ Score to the size you want, we did a 4×4 to make 16 squares

~ Bake in 350 degree oven until the edges brown and the middle is cooked through.  There is forgiveness here and you can make them crispy or leave the spongy

~ Bake 15-20 minutes depending on your preference.

* variation with herbs:  try minced fresh rosemary and onion powder, chilli pepper, or lemon zest

My question for you.

When it comes to choosing the right foods to optimize your bone health, what is the single biggest challenge, frustration or problem you’ve been struggling with?
Please let me know so I can write content that meets your needs.
Plus I have wonderful alkaline salad dressing waiting for you on the other side to thank you for your time 🙂.

Click here to share your challenges ----> HERE

My bones thank you for stopping by!

Irma Jennings, INHC

Holistic Bone Coach


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30 Essential Foods for Bone Health

From my bones to yours,
Irma Jennings, INHC
Your Holistic Bone Coach
[email protected]

30 Essential Foods for Bone Health
30 Essential Foods for Bone Health
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