In all of the sites I've looked on, one of the symptoms of Celiac's Disease is the failure to grow in children. Why would an immune attack against gluten cause stunted growth?

Celiac.org states:

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition published a study on catch-up growth in children diagnosed with Celiac's before the age of nine.

Is the lack of nutrients what causes the impaired growth, or is there more to it than that?


1 Answer 1


The "proper" term to use in a case of growth retardation in children is "failure to thrive", abbreviated as FTT.

Celiac disease is one of the most common Organic endogenous (genetically based) FTT syndromes.

The main cause of FTT in pediatric celiac patients is malabsorption. In a case of insufficient vitamins and nutrients absorption the child will (have) FTT.


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