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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    What Are the Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies in Celiac Disease Patients?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC--Shannon Kringen

    Celiac.com 05/11/2015 - Many people with celiac disease know that gluten exposure can cause gut damage and trouble absorbing some vitamins and minerals, which can lead to serious deficiencies. However, even celiac who follow gluten-free diets may experience similar issues, including impaired vitamin and mineral absorption.

    The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies in celiac patients include the following vitamins and minerals:

    1. B vitamins, especially B12
    2. Vitamin A
    3. Vitamin D
    4. Vitamin E
    5. Vitamin K
    6. Iron
    7. Calcium
    8. Carotene
    9. Copper
    10. Folic acid
    11. Magnesium
    12. Selenium
    13. Zinc

    As a result, patients with celiac disease can develop iron-deficiency anemia, including a type that resists oral iron supplementation, and may also develop osteoporosis and osteopenia due to bone loss resulting from decreased calcium and vitamin D absorption.

    For these reasons, it is important that patients with celiac disease be monitored regularly to ensure that they have proper levels of vitamins and minerals in their bodies.

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    Guest Joanne Verwey

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    I would value such monitored statistics. This seemingly small step in overall wellness is beyond my current realities however. My General Practitioner refused my interest in a blood analysis of mineral & vitamin levels. She being the first authority I turned to seeking advice on my celiac symptoms. Ushering me out of her office, her extensive education provided her with this summary, "just follow the Canada Food Guide".

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    Celiacs certainly may have vitamin deficiencies but the solution is not always to add supplements to one's diet. I recently tried adding vitamin B12; my reaction was similar to adding gluten to my diet. My symptoms disappeared within two days of stopping the supplement. I discovered that celiacs do not absorb a B12 supplement. (It was labeled gluten free.) I wish there was more discussion regarding how celiacs can safely compensate for potential vitamin deficiencies.

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    My experience with doctors is "follow the gluten-free diet." No follow-up. Thankfully my kids' doctors want follow-up with lab work. Kids hate it but my oldest still struggles with deficiencies after nearly six years gluten-free and despite supplementation (diagnosed when he was 4).

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    Celiacs certainly may have vitamin deficiencies but the solution is not always to add supplements to one's diet. I recently tried adding vitamin B12; my reaction was similar to adding gluten to my diet. My symptoms disappeared within two days of stopping the supplement. I discovered that celiacs do not absorb a B12 supplement. (It was labeled gluten free.) I wish there was more discussion regarding how celiacs can safely compensate for potential vitamin deficiencies.

    I get Vit B12 injections once a month, at my doctors office. It is a prescription of straight Vit B12, no chance of a gluten reaction. I have been getting it since I was diagnosed 9 years ago. I quit taking it once, got so tired, felt like I was gonna fall asleep standing up. Since then haven't stopped getting it, it gives me energy, and makes me feel half normal.

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    Celiacs certainly may have vitamin deficiencies but the solution is not always to add supplements to one's diet. I recently tried adding vitamin B12; my reaction was similar to adding gluten to my diet. My symptoms disappeared within two days of stopping the supplement. I discovered that celiacs do not absorb a B12 supplement. (It was labeled gluten free.) I wish there was more discussion regarding how celiacs can safely compensate for potential vitamin deficiencies.

    Good point! I use a liquid form of B-12 with no issues.

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    Celiacs certainly may have vitamin deficiencies but the solution is not always to add supplements to one's diet. I recently tried adding vitamin B12; my reaction was similar to adding gluten to my diet. My symptoms disappeared within two days of stopping the supplement. I discovered that celiacs do not absorb a B12 supplement. (It was labeled gluten free.) I wish there was more discussion regarding how celiacs can safely compensate for potential vitamin deficiencies.

    That is very interesting about the Vitamin B12 shot. I am in the same category as Nicole in that there is no way my doctors would do anything like that.

     

    I find that raw foods and juicing really helps me a lot.

     

    I have a lower quality insurance company, actually a medicaid company, and so with my doctors they have to be dragged kicking and screaming just to give me any tests at all. follow-up, no that is not an option. monitoring of my ability to absorb, no that is an exotic thing unavailable.

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    B12 injections do not work here on the NHS in England as they contain the wrong type of B12. I was so low on B12 I nearly died, was told I had to have B12 injections and I said, are the injections the same as the tablets you put me on, they said yes, and I said, what's the point the tablets didn't work so why would the injection!? So I did my research (around the world on the net from 1960 to present day, took me 9 hours) and found a B12 spray that you spray onto your tongue. My doctor said she could not prescribe it as the NHS wouldn't fund it!!?? Yet would fund an injection every month????? Anyway, I have been using it for the last 5 years and my B12 is now 800, instead of being 100. Do your research folks.

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    B12 injections do not work here on the NHS in England as they contain the wrong type of B12. I was so low on B12 I nearly died, was told I had to have B12 injections and I said, are the injections the same as the tablets you put me on, they said yes, and I said, what's the point the tablets didn't work so why would the injection!? So I did my research (around the world on the net from 1960 to present day, took me 9 hours) and found a B12 spray that you spray onto your tongue. My doctor said she could not prescribe it as the NHS wouldn't fund it!!?? Yet would fund an injection every month????? Anyway, I have been using it for the last 5 years and my B12 is now 800, instead of being 100. Do your research folks.

    B12 is listed as the number 1 deficiency???

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    B12 injections do not work here on the NHS in England as they contain the wrong type of B12. I was so low on B12 I nearly died, was told I had to have B12 injections and I said, are the injections the same as the tablets you put me on, they said yes, and I said, what's the point the tablets didn't work so why would the injection!? So I did my research (around the world on the net from 1960 to present day, took me 9 hours) and found a B12 spray that you spray onto your tongue. My doctor said she could not prescribe it as the NHS wouldn't fund it!!?? Yet would fund an injection every month????? Anyway, I have been using it for the last 5 years and my B12 is now 800, instead of being 100. Do your research folks.

    Sounds like a new doctor is needed when they won't even write the prescription for you, regardless of who pays.

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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 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. 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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