Do celiac patients need to take vitamins?
Food nutrition in the case of celiac disease is important to be considered. When people who have celiac disease consume any foods containing gluten, their mucosa membrane of the small intestine is inflamed and damaged. After this damage, the small intestine’s ability to absorb vitamins is impaired. As a result of this, vitamin deficiency occurs which can further lead to anemia, short stature, fatigue, neurological dysfunction, osteoporosis, etc. Besides, several studies have proved that celiac disease has vitamin deficiencies as one of its symptoms.
After adopting a gluten-free diet also, some vitamin deficiencies seem to persist for years or even longer. A study, conducted in 2009 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, including study participants of 109 men and women affected with celiac disease, assessed these people if their gluten-free diet was able to provide them with the necessary vitamins and nutrients that the body requires in its normal functions. The participants were asked to report all the foods they consumed without leaving out any details for a period of three days. It showed up that they lacked nutrients.
So the answer is obvious that celiacs need vitamin supplements other than gluten-free diet. Celiac Sprue Association warns in its website that celiacs were forbidden from taking nutritional supplements without their physician’s advice. Even the current guidelines for vitamin intakes have been built based on the studies on healthy people who do have celiac disease. Hence a celiac, prior to taking any supplements, must have their vitamin status examined by a physician or a registered dietician, so that he will get a glimpse of what vitamins he lack and in what amounts.
The following includes a list of nutrients that have been found to be lacking in the study conducted in 2009 as well as the percentages of participants lacking the recommended daily intake.
· Vitamin D: 92.7%
· Folate: 85.3%
· Thiamin: 58.7%
· Vitamin B6: 34.9%
· Vitamin B12: 29.4%
· Niacin: 29.4%
· Riboflavin: 24.8%
· Calcium: 81.7%
· Fiber: 74.3%
· Iron: 41.3%
The researchers in addition to these assessments asked the study participants in filling out a questionnaire for them about the quality of life they live. The observations were that the participants, who had high fiber intake, were found to have the best quality of life. You can just browse the net if you want any tips for the addition of fiber content to the gluten-free diet and consult your doctor before starting it.
Since very high percentages of people lack the recommended intake goals in the case of many nutrients, supplements must be included into their diet but only with the consultation of a doctor. The researchers confirmed that this finding has given clues for the higher rates of anemia and osteoporosis among the celiacs. They concluded their study stating multivitamin supplements are inevitable for the celiac population.