People with celiac disease also experience malabsorption and multiple nutrient deficiencies. Ideally, you should obtain nutrients from your diet. In the case of celiac disease, supplements are often required along with a gluten-free diet.
When purchasing supplements, be sure they are high-quality and from a reputable company. They should also be gluten and dairy-free.
In this article, we’ll review the most important nutrients for those with the condition.
Vitamin D deficiency is a symptom of many diseases, including celiac disease. Researchers believe Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the development of celiac disease. This is along with genetics and other factors, of course.
Foods provide little amounts of this vitamin. The best way to obtain Vitamin D is to expose yourself to sun rays or take supplements. Dietary sources of Vitamin D include cod liver oil and fatty fish.
To tell if you are deficient in the vitamin, you can take a blood test. Based on this test, a doctor can recommend the optimal daily dose of the nutrient.
Vitamin D is better absorbed when taken with magnesium and Vitamin K2. People with celiac disease are often deficient in these vitamins as well.
Magnesium deficiency is also common in those with untreated celiac disease. Levels do tend to improve when treatment starts, though.
Magnesium supplements come in different forms. The most widely available form on the market is magnesium oxide, but it’s poorly absorbed in the body. Choose instead highly bioavailable forms like magnesium bis-glycinate, citrate, and/or ionic magnesium.
You can also obtain magnesium from foods. The best sources include green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Be sure to choose gluten-free whole grains in cases of celiac disease.
A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, which is common in people with celiac disease. If iron deficiency anemia does not respond to iron supplements, it’s suggestive of celiac disease.
It takes about 6 to 12 months of a gluten-free diet to see improvement in iron levels. Regular iron supplements often cause an upset stomach. Choose iron bis-glycinate, as it is highly bioavailable and gentle on the stomach.
Food has two types of iron: heme and nonheme iron. The body absorbs heme iron better. You can find it in animal products like meat, fish, seafood, and poultry. Nonheme iron is found in plant-based foods like lentils, beans, and spinach. You can also add some Vitamin C (i.e. lemon on a spinach salad) to increase the amount of iron absorbed from plant sources.
If your blood tests show low levels of zinc, you should take zinc supplements. After taking the supplement for eight weeks, you’ll get retested for zinc levels.
If the deficiency does not improve, doctors may test your copper levels. These minerals work closely and a high intake of zinc can lead to copper deficiency.
A high-quality multimineral formula may have enough zinc, therefore you may not need to take supplements. Highly bioavailable forms of zinc supplements include zinc chelate and zinc bis-glycinate.
Zinc-rich foods include oysters, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, meat, and fish.
Almost 100 studies found an association between calcium deficiency and celiac disease. In some cases, low calcium levels are the first sign of the condition. These low levels could lead to complications such as bone diseases.
Working closely with Vitamin D, calcium plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and nerves. It works as a cofactor in the production of various hormones and enzymes.
Calcium supplements are widely available. You can use them in combination with Vitamin D to support bone health.
Calcium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, rice, and dairy products.
People with celiac disease may be deficient in various B vitamins. However, folate and Vitamin B12 deficiencies are the most common with the condition. They can also lead to anemia.
Many nutrient deficiencies improve with a gluten-free diet, but folate (Vitamin B9) and B12 deficiencies may persist and require long-term supplementation. L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) and methylcobalamin are highly bioavailable forms of folate and B12. Take folate and B12 alongside a B complex formula as all B vitamins work together.
Folate-rich foods include green leafy veggies, asparagus, broccoli, beets, bell peppers, and avocados. Sources of B12 include organ meats, fish, seafood, eggs, and fortified foods with nutritional yeast, like cereal.
Studies found gut dysbiosis, or altered gut microbiota, in celiac disease cases. This imbalance among friendly bacteria in the gut appears to play a role in the disease. Probiotic supplements may help improve symptoms and reduce the toxic effects of gluten on the small bowel.
Which probiotic is best for celiac disease? There is no direct answer at this point as we need more research. The microbial imbalances also vary from one person to another. So, you must try a few probiotics before finding the formula that improves your symptoms.
It is best to use a formula containing multiple strains from Lactobacilli and Bifido species. Clinical studies used various strains of Lactobacilli Bifidobacteria species including:
- L. casei
- L. rhamnosus
- L. reuteri
- L. plantarum
- B. animalis
- B. longum
- B. breve (B632 and BRO3 strains)
Be sure to choose a gluten-free, dairy-free formula without artificial additives.
To prevent complications and manage symptoms, it’s essential to add these celiac disease supplements to your daily routine. Be conscious of what you eat and follow a gluten-free diet for best results.