Celiac.com 04/15/2009 - A recent clinical study has shown B vitamins to be beneficial for celiac sufferers following gluten-free diets. Vitamin deficiency and less than optimal health are common problems for people with celiac disease, even those who faithfully follow a gluten-free diet. Common problems associated with long-term celiac disease include general malaise, and less than optimal well-being.

To better understand the benefits of supplemental doses of B vitamins for patients with celia disease, a team of researchers recently set out to evaluate the biochemical and clinical effects of B vitamin supplements in adults with long-term celiac disease. The research was made up of doctors C. Hallert, M. Svensson, J. Tholstrup, and B. Hultberg.

The team assembled a group of 65 adults with celiac disease for a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. 61% of the group was female, and each had followed a gluten-free diet for several years.

For 6 months, patients received daily doses of either a placebo, or of B vitamins in the amount of 0.8 mg folic acid, 0.5 mg cyanocobalamin and 3 mg pyridoxine. At the end of the trial period, doctors gauged vitamin effectiveness by measuring psychological general well-being (PGWB), together with total levels of plasma total homocysteine (tHcy), a reliable indicator of B vitamin status.

In all, 57 of the 61 enrolled patients completed the trial (88%). Baseline tHcy levels for these patients averaged 11.7 micromoles/L (range = 7.4 to 23.0), which was markedly higher than the 10.2 micromoles/L for the control group (range = 6.7 to 22.6) (P < 0.01).

After the B vitamin treatment, patient tHcy levels dropped an average of 34% (P < 0.001). Patients experienced substantial improvement in well-being (P < 0.01). Even patients who initially reported poor well-being showed notable improvements in Anxiety (P < 0.05) and Depressed Mood (P < 0.05) .

These improvements, the normalization of tHcy levels, together with the substantial increase in well-being, led the research team to conclude that people living gluten-free with long-term celiac disease do indeed benefit from daily supplemental doses of vitamin B, and that doctors should consider advising the use of B vitamins supplements for these patients.


Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Apr 15;29(8):811-6.

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