A gluten-free diet is followed by people with celiac disease. Celiac disease occurs when the body begins to destroy the lining of the small intestine after gluten is ingested. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Intestinal damage from celiac disease inhibits the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. Additionally, consuming adequate nutrients may be difficult while learning to eat a gluten-free diet. You may need vitamin supplementation so meet with your physician to discuss your supplementation needs.
The University of Virginia Health System recommends a multivitamin for anyone new to the gluten-free diet. Adjusting to a gluten-free diet means choosing foods that are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. Processed gluten-free foods are often made with refined gluten-free flours that may lack vitamins and minerals. You may consume less iron, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and fiber than recommended for a healthy adult diet, states UVHS. A multivitamin that contains these nutrients may be beneficial. If you consume adequate amounts gluten-free whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, supplementation may be unnecessary.
Folate is a type of B vitamin essential for cell growth and development, including red blood cell production, and is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing infant. Folate is often found in enriched grain products that may not be readily available in gluten-free form. Women of childbearing age should take 400 mcg of folate per day. Folate may be consumed as part of a multi-vitamin or a separate folate supplement. Sources of gluten-free folate products include enriched cereals and orange juice. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are folate-rich food choices, as well as citrus fruits, legumes and liver.
Celiac disease increases your risk of osteoporosis, or thinning bones, due to a lack of calcium absorption through damaged intestine tissues. The amount of calcium you need each day depends on your gender, age and whether or not you already have thinning bones from celiac disease, states Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Speak with your physician about the amount of calcium recommended for you. Besides calcium supplementation, many gluten-free foods are rich in calcium, including milk, yogurt and hard cheese.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. If you’re lacking calcium in your diet due to celiac disease, you may also be low in vitamin D, states UVHS. You may need vitamin D supplementation along with calcium to prevent thinning bones. Vitamin D may also be found in gluten-free products such as fish, margarine, dairy products and oysters.
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Gluten and the Gluten Free Diet
- University of Virginia Health System: The Gluten Free Diet: An Update for Health Professionals
- Celiac Central: Getting Started: Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free Diet
- Celiac Sprue Association: Treatment of Celiac Disease
- Medline Plus: Folic Acid
- vitamins image by JJAVA from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.