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    Jefferson Adams

    B Vitamins Beneficial for Celiacs on Gluten-Free Diet

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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.



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    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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    Guest Janice Duncan

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    Hair loss. That sure got my attention, not my less than optimum health issues. When you start getting handfuls of hair a bell goes off. I have tripled my B complex and really watch my diet.

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    It is clear just going gluten free is only part of the road to better health. Magnesium and B vitamins supplements are essential.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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