Introduction: Several studies show that coeliac patients diagnosed early in childhood and under a strict gluten-free diet (GFD) reach normal growth patterns. However, some authors suggest that some patients develop a deficient nutritional status because of a lack of some nutrients.
Objective: To evaluate the nutritional and vitamin status in coeliac patients with a correct adherence to a GFD for several years.
Methods: Prospective, observational randomised study of coeliac patients diagnosed early in childhood who have been under a strict and continuous GFD. Anthropometric indexes were analysed (weight, height, body mass index, tricipital skinfold, arm circumference and muscle arm circumference) and blood samples were obtained (vitamins A, D, E, B12, folic acid, homocysteine, transglutaminase tissue antibodies, iron, ferritin, albumin, plasma aminoacids and zinc), comparing them with standard levels for age and sex.
Results: 32 patients were included, mean age at diagnosis 8.1 years, mean current age 21.0 years, and mean GFD duration 12.1 years. Younger patients at diagnosis and those younger than 15 years now have better skinfold percentile, it being worse in those with less than 10 years of evolution; the only parameter with statistically significant differences is brachial perimeter, which is clearly smaller in those older at diagnosis. There is no significant alteration in main blood test parameters; all vitamins analysed were normal in all groups.
Conclusions: Anthropometric and analytical parameters are normal in almost all patients diagnosed in childhood, showing the benefit of a prolonged, equilibrated and strict GFD, whenever there is no added illness.