Anemia Etiology and the Response to a Gluten-Free Diet in Untreated Patients With Celiac Disease: A 2-Year Follow-Up

Giovanni A. Roldan, Daniela Goyes, Javier A. Villafuerte-Gálvez, Mariana Urquiaga, Melinda Dennis, Joseph A. Murray, Daniel A. Leffler, Ciarán P. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION:Anemia and micronutrient deficiencies are common in newly diagnosed patients with celiac disease (CeD). We aim to determine the prevalence and etiology of anemia in a cohort of patients with CeD in the United States and examine the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD) on the laboratory parameters related to anemia in CeD.METHODS:We analyzed a prospectively collected cohort of adults with biopsy-proven CeD followed in a specialized CeD center between January 2000 and June 2016. We used the level of hemoglobin (Hb) and micronutrients suggested by the World Health Organization to establish the diagnosis of anemia or deficiencies. Demographic data and laboratory parameters related to anemia and micronutrients were recorded at the time of diagnosis and on a GFD. A celiac expert nutritionist or gastroenterologist evaluated all patients.RESULTS:In 572 patients with laboratory evaluation before starting a GFD, approximately 25% presented with anemia at the time of diagnosis of CeD. Iron deficiency was present in 50.8% of the cohort and in 78.8% of the patients with anemia. Within the anemic population, 84.4% of female patients as compared with 58.3% of male patients (P = 0.02) showed iron deficiency. Folate deficiency (23.2%), vitamin B12 deficiency (11%), and anemia of chronic diseases (7.8%) were also part of both sexes' anemia etiology. Of the initially anemic patients, 81% and 89% normalized their Hb levels within 1 year and 2 years of beginning a GFD, respectively. All patients received appropriate supplementation when needed.DISCUSSION:Approximately 25% of individuals have anemia at CeD diagnosis. The anemia etiology included iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies, and anemia of chronic diseases. Most of the patients will normalize their Hb levels and the anemia laboratory parameters 1 year after starting a strict GFD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1684-1692
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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