Coeliac disease may place your heart at risk

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Did you know that having coeliac disease may double your risk of developing coronary artery disease? This is because inflammation can harm your arteries, and people with an autoimmune disease suffer with excess inflammation. Reducing the inflammation can help to protect your heart.

When wanting to reduce the risk of having a heart attack, most people think about their cholesterol level. You probably don’t associate coeliac disease with heart problems. New research was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session. Researchers analysed the health records of patients from 13 different healthcare centres between January 1999 and September 2013.

From a total of almost 22.4 million patients, 24,530 had coeliac disease. Patients with coeliac disease were found to have significantly higher rates of coronary artery disease than non-coeliacs. The rates were 9.5 percent for patients with coeliac disease, compared to 5.6 percent for the rest.

This is interesting data and it just goes to show how significant inflammation is in promoting heart disease. According to R.D. Gajulapalli, M.D., clinical associate at the Cleveland Clinic and co-investigator of the study, “People with coeliac disease have some persistent low-grade inflammation in the gut that can spill immune mediators into the bloodstream, which can then accelerate the process of atherosclerosis and, in turn, coronary artery disease”.

These findings “reinforce the idea that chronic inflammation, whether it’s from an infection or a disease, can have an adverse role in coronary artery disease and general heart health, even in the absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors”. These are wise words to remember. If maintaining good health is important to you, it’s critical to keep inflammation low. For information on how to do that, see our book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation and Dr Cabot’s book about gluten.


Reference Celiac disease linked to increased risk of coronary artery disease (

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