A gluten-free diet is beneficial for those diagnosed with celiac disease. However, to avoid gluten from the diet, they need to keep a watch on what they are eating since gluten-free products tend to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, which are essential for our body. Moreover, in some cases, the daily recommended amount of calories and proteins in the diet are not sufficiently met. In such cases, the only option is to go for dietary supplements, vitamins, and minerals to fill up the missing gaps when it comes to nutrient intake.
If the doctor recognizes that an individual is vitamin-deficient, he would recommend taking supplements along with dietary changes. Avoid taking any kind of supplements without consulting a doctor since mega doses of certain vitamin supplements can also have their own side effects on the body. The doctor would first conduct some blood tests to identify the deficiency before deciding on the correct dose of the supplements. However, if you are one of those who would like to go for foods that contain essential nutrients, then you can prepare a list of target foods. Also, one cannot completely eliminate the need for supplements, especially if the doctor has diagnosed you with a certain deficiency.
A celiac patient would be seen as having a certain percentage of deficiency in iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin A.
Essential Vitamins for Celiac Disease
1. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is essential for the body since it helps fight against infections that try to harm the body. Apart from fighting off infections, vitamin B6 maintains the proper functioning of the nerve cells and helps carry oxygen throughout the body. However, people with celiac disease and those who need to go on a gluten-free diet are identified as having low levels of vitamin B6, which then leads to the improper functioning of the body. The body’s immune system also becomes weak to fight against any infection. For this reason, your diet must include supplements and foods that are high in vitamin B6.
There are plenty of foods, which can help in boosting this vital nutrient. A bowl of chickpeas is known to provide more than half of the daily vitamin B6 requirement. Chickpeas can be mixed and eaten as part of salads. Significant amounts of vitamin B6 are present in other foods such as chicken breast, tuna, salmon, and turkey. A medium-sized banana is also known to contain at least 20 percent of the daily vitamin B6 requirement.
You can find calcium in most dairy products such as cheese, milk, and butter. However, if you are lactose-intolerant, then these products would do more harm than good. Some studies have shown that those suffering from celiac disease do not get the required amount of calcium on a daily basis in their diets. However, there is still no proof that those who consume a gluten-free diet would develop a calcium deficiency. But since calcium is one of the major nutrients needed to maintain strong and healthy bones, not having enough of it in the body can cause a bone condition called as osteoporosis.
Hence, being a person with celiac disease could be a major risk factor for calcium deficiency. If you are avoiding dairy products along with gluten, then there are other food options that have a certain amount of calcium present in them such as tofu and certain brands of orange juice with added calcium. Just make sure that you only pick gluten-free juice.
Iron deficiency seems to be quite a common symptom among celiac patients. Moreover, there have been studies that show that individuals who are anemic can have a major damage to their small intestine than those individuals who had diarrhea as their primary celiac symptom. Hence, people with celiac disease need to be more cautious to get enough levels of iron in their body. It can be achieved with the help of iron supplements or consuming foods that are rich in iron.
If one is non-vegetarian, then it is quite easy to get iron in the diet by including meat such as beef and turkey. You can also get iron from seafood. Oysters are a rich source of iron whereas tuna has some traces of iron in it. For vegetarians and those who are following a gluten-free diet, iron can be obtained in foods such as soybeans and legumes. A cup of soybean is known to contain at least half the iron one would require in a day and one cup of lentils contains 35 percent of the daily recommended intake of iron. The only issue here is to go for gluten-free soy and beans as there can be cases where these foods are easily contaminated with gluten.
4. Vitamin B12
A major cause of easily getting fatigued is a deficiency in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known to maintain the blood cells and the nerve cells. For this reason, those who seem to get easily tired without carrying out much of activities would probably have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Studies reveal that celiac patients do not get enough of this vitamin in their diet even though they may not be low in this nutrient.
Many breakfast cereals available in the market contains 100 percent of vitamin B12, but it would not be free from gluten, so it becomes restrictive for those suffering from celiac disease. In such cases, one can go for dairy items, fish, and meat, which are the best sources of vitamin B12. Most vegetarians tend to have a vitamin B12 deficiency. One cup of milk will provide at least 15 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin B12.
5. Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamine
Vitamin B plays an important role in converting the food we eat into energy. Riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine are all vitamin B. You can find all three of these vitamins in gluten-based foods. Thus, individuals who are diagnosed with celiac disease also seem to suffer from vitamin B and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Beans are said to be a good source of thiamine, wherein half a cup of green peas would provide about 50 percent of the daily nutrition of vitamin B. Potatoes also contain a significant amount of thiamine while dairy products are known to contain riboflavin. A cup of milk or yogurt would make up for any deficiency of vitamin B.
Riboflavin is also found in meat. If you are a vegetarian, then you can go in for soy nuts or almonds. When it comes to niacin, one can find this vitamin in meat, fish, poultry, and dairy items. Vegetarians can also consume peanuts, beans, or squash seeds to make up for the low levels of niacin each day.
6. Folate or Folic Acid
Folate or folic acid is another form of vitamin B, which is vitamin B9. Folic acid is quite important during the early pregnancy period since a deficiency of it can lead to birth defects. It also helps prevent any kind of malformation in the spine and brain of the unborn baby. Folic acid is known for DNA synthesis and repair, the creation of red blood cells, biosynthesis in cells, and prevention of anemia.
People need a sufficient amount of folic acid to help the body create new cells. To boost the level of folic acid in your body, try to include more greens in your diet. You can add brussels sprouts, spinach, and asparagus to your meals since these are all high in folic acid similar to broccoli and green peas. Peanuts are also known to have
Peanuts are also known to have a surprising amount of folic acid. Ten ounces of peanuts each day are more than enough for the daily requirement. Half a cup of black-eyed peas would make up for a quarter of folic acid needed for the day. Many citrus foods also contain folic acid, especially oranges, which rank highest among them all. One orange contains around 50 mcg of folic acid.
Other fruits rich in folic acid are grapes, bananas, and strawberries. Seeds and nuts are also a rich source of folic acid. The seeds can be pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds. You can eat them raw or sprinkle them on a bowl of salad. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are known to be the richest source of folic acid.
7. Vitamin D
Vitamin D has innumerable benefits. Not only is it beneficial for the bones and maintaining them to be strong and healthy, it is also vital for our immune system. Vitamin D helps regulate blood pressure levels as well as prevent cancer.
Vitamin D is also known as the "sunshine vitamin" since our body produces this vitamin when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Not everyone gets the required dose of sunlight to make up for sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body since certain places do not have enough sunlight available. Moreover, due to the harmful UV rays and increasing pollution, people tend to limit their skin to be exposed under the sun.
Vitamin D is also present in certain foods such as dairy items and fish. An egg yolk is known to contain about 10 percent of the daily required vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps in the absorption of calcium, which is essential for the bones, teeth, and muscles. Fortified foods, supplements, and exposure to sunlight are some of the effective ways to improve the levels of vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D supplements are available at different dosage levels.
Vitamin D is available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. According to certain studies, it has been suggested that an individual should take 5 mcg or 200 IU of vitamin D on a daily basis. This dosage would be ideal for males and females who are below the age of 50 years old. Those who fall in the age bracket of 50-70 years old should meet the daily requirement of 10 mcg or 400 IU of vitamin D and those above 70 years should increase their vitamin D dose to 20 mcg or 600 IU.
However, certain research studies suggest that one should go for a daily vitamin D intake of 2,000 IU per day. It is still best to check with the doctor before going ahead with the dosage requirement. Also, look for supplements that provide vitamin D3 known as cholecalciferol, instead of vitamin D2, which is ergocalciferol. A daily vitamin D dosage of 5 mcg can be given when it comes to small children from birth until the age of five.
Below is a list of some of the recommended vitamin D supplements:
- Do Vitamins DailyD
- Nutrigold Vitamin D3 Gold 1000 IU
- Carlson Labs Vitamin D3
- Nature Made Vitamin D3
- NOW Foods Vitamin D-3
- Nature’s Way Vitamin D3
- Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3
- Natural Factors Vitamin D3
- Celiac disease leads to a deficiency in vitamins and minerals in our body.
- Vitamins are quite important for our body since they have innumerable benefits and their deficiency can lead to certain medical conditions.
- A celiac patient would be seen as having a certain percentage of deficiency in iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin A.