Are Celiac Disease and Lupus Connected?

The possible connection between celiac disease and lupus


Clinical research suggests between two and three percent of people with celiac disease also have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), an autoimmune disorder which shares similar biomarkers as CD. While the celiac disease and lupus connection is not entirely unexpected , multiple studies have shown that celiac disease often occurs in the presence of other immune-mediated disorders,  that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for celiac patients to get the correct diagnosis of lupus, even in the presence of blood tests that reveal relevant biomarkers are present.

That’s because celiac disease, lupus and other diseases shown to have a higher correlation with CD involve the immune system, an incredibly complex system that affects so many other systems and functions and includes so many variables, it can be difficult to “tease out” which disorder is actually present. Plus, because studies have shown its common for more than one immune disorder to occur diagnosis is even more problematic. Even when celiac disease is not present, lupus is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis which also has similar symptoms. Lupus is a complex and unpredictable disease making it challenging to diagnose. The most common symptoms of lupus include but are not limited to extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away with rest, joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in two or more joints, fever over 100°F, muscle pain, hair loss, skin sores and rashes (which may occur in a butterfly-shaped pattern across the cheeks and nose), nose or mouth sores (usually painless), skin rashes after sun exposure.  Some symptoms are similar to those of celiac disease. Click this link for a detailed list of the common symptoms of celiac disease.

At least one study suggests the problem in diagnosing lupus in celiac disease patients is because lupus may develop later on, and when an earlier series of tests doesn’t find evidence of the disease, it’s essentially crossed off the list of potential culprits. That study also recommends a longer period of follow-up and re-testing to determine if lupus develops over time.

Interestingly, a separate study suggest an opposite problem: celiac disease “masquerading” as lupus, which means some people who have been diagnosed with lupus may actually suffer from CD  and not getting the correct treatment.

If you have celiac disease and you’re experiencing symptoms of lupus but you’ve not yet been diagnosed (or vice versa), it’s important to find support, keep visiting our blog  and to continue to speak with your doctor about existing and emerging studies that show a direct link between the two conditions. You need to offset the effects of celiac disease to the greatest extent possible, and that means making sure you get the right nutrition. That’s why Gluten Free Therapeutics developed CeliVites  to help celiac patients get the nutritional support they need to stay as healthy as possible.

This original article was created by Gluten Free Therapeutics, Inc. the makers of CeliVites. It is our mission to provide safe and effective nutritional supplements and to research important CD topics in an effort to inform and educate our customers.

This original article is made possible by Gluten Free Therapeutics. Our mission is to educate, inform, and provide the most effective nutritional products possible to allow those with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerances to heal their bodies. CeliVites complete line of superior gluten free supplements includes multivitamin/multimineral supplements, iron supplements, and calcium supplements for people living with celiac disease. All CeliVites products are designed to help you heal, restore and rebuild your body, because going gluten free isn’t enough! 

Comments ()

  1. Cindy Coggins says:

    I believe that there is a link. Our daughter was diagnosed with Cutaneous Lupus about 6 months before she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

    1. kate says:

      I was too….

  2. Bev Lieven says:

    Where is the list of ingredients? All I could find was blurry pictures.

    I react to trace amounts of various things, including the nitrate in thiamine mononitrate. (Nitrates are known oxidizing agent, while the thiamine HCl form provides the acidity essential for absorption.)

    I sure any feel the same as I do–No label, no deal.”

    Bev Lieven

    1. GFT staff says:

      Bev, we are not sure if your question is to our products or labels in general. But we will address it as if you are asking where to find our ingredients listed. On each product page we have tabs that lead to expanded information. Under the ingredient tab there is a listing of each ingredient and by clicking on the plus sign the reason for the ingredient is described. We hope you find that helpful. We agree in the importance of disclosing the ingredients to our customers and have gone to great lengths to do just that.

  3. Michelle says:

    I was diagnosed with SLE at age 25, and with celiac at age 58. It’s been a long, hard row to hoe.

  4. ann carlile says:

    i was diagnosed with sle in 1968 i am now 80 sleeping tired at night my hands and arms hurt and go to sleep feet swoolen could this be a reacerance of slc drs do not know y this is happening i do not hurt in day time please help i was in hospital 7 days before diagnoesed in 68 the dr had just done his theses on it as his wife had it

  5. Kelly says:

    I am excited to try these for a period of time. Started about 1 week ago. I have had celiac for about 4 years and this year got Lymes disease .Thought for sure the lupus test would come back positive but instead it was that. I am not convinced I don’t have Lupus or another autoimmune disease . I was negative for celiac for 4 years while I dealt with so much pain and discomfort and issues . The gluten free diet helped a bunch for a while . But seems to return at times still without eating gluten . I recently went dairy free and that has helped. You know your body better than anyone . Stay open to taking care of yourself and not being afraid to express your concerns and be persistent with doctors .

  6. Wendy says:

    When I was 6 months old they found I had celiac. Then in 1992 it came back big time .i am now 61 and just found out I SLE took 15 years and 5 test but my doctor broke it down and big time yes. In that 15 years they thought it was fibromyalgia still think it is. pain and 24 hour Headaches that is what is bad. I am in pain patches fentanyl 100mg and butrans 20mg. I would love just one day no Pain. But what really said SLE was every year change in my eye sight. And the Pain getting so bad the doctors can not even grab my arm to help me up on a table with out me in tears.. All u can do it take one day at a time put a smile on my face.

  7. Linda says:

    I am 69yo and was diagnosed with SLE in 1993. I had all the symptoms from the time I was about 5yo. I grew up thinking” everyone must hurt like this…..” so I just grinned and adjusted. When it shut me down completely I finally got the Dx. it wasn’t cancer it was LUPUS.
    Most meds make me crazy and I have adverse reactions. Following a gluten free diet has helped immensely so who knows? This info has helped. I’ll be more diligent in my diet than ever.

  8. Joanne says:

    I have celiac, was diagnosed about 15 years ago. I never had any trouble with skin breakouts before. About a year ago my face started having dry spots, I have always used Clinique products. For cleaning and my foundation and such. The dry patches got worse and I tried using a different product that said it was gluten free but it didn’t make any difference. My husband had to go to a dermotoligist for a skin problem and she told him to use plain Dove soap. And that is what we used to always use. The one for sensitive skin. Because of his skin. So I did the same thing. And use CeraVe for lotion. My skin is better but Has scars where some of the places were so dry they had opened up. I still use the Clinique make-up but not the cleaning products. I just wondered if anyone else has this problem and if there was something special I should be doing. I drink LOTS of water, and take a lot of vitamins that are gluten free. And the Clinique never bothered me before.

    1. Nicole says:

      Coconut oil is wonderful, all natural, and very hydrating for your skin. When I break out with dermatitis herpetiformis, coconut oil and tea tree oil are the only things that soothe because i will not put harsh chemicals on my skin. Remember: What you put ON your body, is also going IN your body.
      Shea Moisture makes nice, all natural soaps that have NO fake ingredients like Dove does. I used to use Dove too, but it would really dry me out.

  9. Terri Evans says:

    I was diagnosed with SLE over 10 years ago. For the last 5 years, I have constant diarrhea, stomach bloating and gerd. I just started the gluten free diet in hopes these symptoms will decrease or end. Keep you posted!

  10. Anupama says:

    I have Lupus since i was 31 years old and i am on various drugs and have bad knees.I want to try glue free dieting that it can make me better and reduce my med

  11. Rifat ahmed says:

    I was diagnosed in 2009 with coeliacs disease and then in 2013 was diagnosed with lupus.most days its a battle with fatigue headaches stiffness pain and itching on my head and ankles and these are the minimum symptoms! Alond with hyper pigmentation.I have been on a strictly gluten free diet and take medication for lupus.I do what the docs ask me to do but the illnesses have taken I’ver my life.

  12. Grace says:

    I was diagnosed with SLE 7 years ago and have felt better on and off with occasional flare ups. However, my Gi symptoms have never really gotten any better. I have been talking to my Drs for over 4 years about it and it usually gets dismissed and I’m given omeprazol. My symptoms are very similar to those patients with celiac disease. My rheumatologyst recommend that I didn’t follow a gluten free diet as I don’t have CD. I have complained enough to where I was sent to a GI specialist and have a biopsy scheduled in 3 months.

    1. GFT staff says:

      Grace, This is such good news. It is wonderful to read that you pushed for a answer to your GI problems even though some of your health care providers did not listen. Even if you are not diagnosed with CD you will have eliminated a possible cause. And if you do you can go forward in adapting to a gluten free diet. This is a beginning to your healing.
      We wish you well either way and thank you for sharing your story it is bound to give hope to others who struggle to get good health care.

  13. Sarah M Hanson says:

    I suffered for over 24 years with constant and debilitating hives. Rendering me unable to function depending on the day and where they were. Lymph nodes and sensitive areas are horrible! Feet, hands, face around eyes, I can’t function or walk, see. In 2010, I was diagnosed Celiac and have been eating strictly gf since however, I’m also suffering from leaky gut and have no villi left do have to take Miralax twice daily to move food through me. If I don’t, I’m in horrible pain and it releases toxins into my abdomen from the leaky gut.
    Lately, I’ve had horrible pain, swelling, joint pain and my back especially is literally killing me! A migraine has creeped in and overtaking my life as well as the hives today/yesterday. I usually have to resort to prednisone for the hives but the side effects from that and the horrible feelings it gives my digestive system, I’m torn. I’m 47, gained a ton of weight but after my celiac diagnoses, I made it m mission to feel better and loose the weight. I did it and lost over 100 pounds. Now, being on prednisone again almost once a month and now this pain with inflammation, I’m gaining weight back. This makes me unhappy which in turn makes everything worse I need to see my doctors and no doubt a few new ones. I’m lost and suffering along with think Lupus might come to play in this equation. 🙁

    1. GFT staff says:

      Thank you for your generosity in sharing your story with other readers. We all help each other through sharing. It does indeed sound like you are dealing with a quite a few related but separate issues. Congratulations first of all on losing the weight. That is quite an achievement. We did have one thought while reading your comment. You may want to take a look at this article we published a while ago about how celiac disease can affect skin. Perhaps you will find some helpful information to share with your dermatologist. We wish you well and hope that you find the answers you are looking for.

  14. Jeff says:

    Hello to all and my deepest sympathy as I am new to conditions and idly how they were not present till after blood work and colonoscopy and ct with induced iodine and since have been a mess with skin after sun, head itchy pimples/ demititis, vision , joints, fatigue, irritable, back, neck and severe headaches and found diverticulitis/ osis, and almost a vegan growing up ranch life and love veggies, I am stooped the way all popped up after checking lower left abdominal area finding diverticulosis and doctors denying what lab result says autoimmune celiac etc. Saying its description of search but under results as my thought would be findings as I suffer from symptoms, and Gi doc sent me to diatision/ Diatrist who says under results lab paragraph is explaining like explaining as test say igg iga itg whatever it is as you all know what I mean, don’t have on hand the paperwork, but feel somethings are odd, Gi who sent me to Diatrist and a month later after I finally got to appointment she tells me she just got off phone with before I arrived found odd as he said I am ok to have gluten, but she wants me to now do a 3 month gluten free trial,,,,,,, huh! That morning I left message to Gi to get endoscopy/ biospy as I told her should be done as a life change and contradictory between the two and now 3 month thing, as why not get to the direct answer/ biospy, and now can’t follow up with him when he’s set all these things up, unless primary does another referral, o have many symptoms and issues as issues not mentioned, so ! I’m going to hammer down with all with my doc, and through researching find many issues autoimmune connections like lupus even MS thyroid and fibromyalgia and so on, as says important to catch things ASAP to prevent other issues, going gluten free seems #1 for sure, my sharing here is to see if any find odd, and I have read misdiagnosis can happen due to all are linked in a serious way, always been and eat very healthy and juice veggie and protein products, I will follow gluten free as I can and the special diets and sites Gi has written and celiac web site pages given to me even though he said gluten ok for me verses Diatrist he sent me to, I’m just a bit confused , I have read iodine sets things off worse then gluten products and boy did my body react!!! So if any have any thoughts or feedback on what I’ve shared dealing with and Quacky stuff From doctors please share thoughts because this is twilight zone stuff to me!!! Thank you and hope the best for all who know and suffer,

  15. Jeff says:

    As well I will mention three hernias that I read last night on medline I believe that those can be induced by symptoms or factual diagnosis which seems withheld for some reason although treatment treated for symptoms we are sharing about

  16. Cindy- Lost in Missouri says:

    I have been fighting all my life with IBS (from 12-46) This past year I started having allergy issues. It bubbled over into anaphalactic shock and they are testing for food allergies. I know I have Lupus in my family, but my grandmother thinks it is a wheat sensitivity or celiac disease. Anyone else out there travel a similar road?

  17. Ava Warnock says:

    I have lupus but I am not sure if I am gluten free. Is there any way to determine if you’re gluten free without getting tests?

  18. Claire says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac & just a couple of months later I was diagnosed with Lupus… I also have a friend that was diagnosed with Lupus & then Celiac! WILD!

  19. Stacey Karr says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac almost 3 years ago, after a biopsy. We did the lab work and my numbers were so high my doctor confirmed I had probably had it since I was 15, I’m 46 now. I have recently started getting hives at random times, stiffness with aching joints. I also have started getting sores in my nose that are painful. I had a cousin who passed away with lupus over 4 years ago, I am beginning to wonder if there is a possibility of me having lupus as well at this point. I also lost down to 98lbs within 6/8 months, I did have the H Pylori virus he said my immune system is in very bad shape. I took all the medication and that was about 3 months ago but I still haven’t gained weight. Any suggestions?

  20. Dixie Johnson says:

    I have suffered for almost 9 years with what doctor(s) diagnosed me with Lupus. About 3 months ago My DNA/Genetics report suggested I was at high risk for Celiac Disease. Turns out I have Gluten Intolerance. Just wondering if I really have Lupus at all! I feel normal and great as long as I’m GF!

  21. becreative says:

    having lupus and eating pasta every day. i made the eperiment and quit eating gluten. everything is normal again. never felt better.

    so… if this is the link… sorry, i have to say that its a scandal that the modern medicine and all the super doctors dont go for it and keep people on a chonic level treating them with cortison an even creeper stuff like endoxan.

  22. LInda Berger says:

    Thank you for taking the time to talk about all your medical issues. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 18 months. I have suffered from extreme constipation and Diarrhea. I had a Bowel obstruction after a routine Colonoscopy. The Doctor has told me that I will not be seen by another Doctor. I have been misjudged and called Anorexic and Doctors have a hard time dealing with me. I have been in pain medicine everyday for 25 years due to impacted sinuses. I also have Rheumatoid inflammatory arthritis especially in my hands. Autoimmunity disorders, Sjodgren’ disease, connective tissue disease and so on. Eating has become a very painful event and I am always in pain. Going to Mayo Clinic on April 28. I am expecting bad news and sick of Doctors judging me. I am incontinent and always going in my pants. My life is unbearable and want support and pain control which is hard to come by. My name is Linda Berger. I have a support Dog that is the only thing I live for.

  23. Helen spittle says:

    Hi I have had celiac for nine years ,I have just been diagnosed with lupus,I also have a B12 injection I’m very tired all the time I have just stopped taking hydroxchlorquin because I had spots on my face Ian waiting to try another drug,there are no lupus groups to go to where I live ,

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