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B Vitamins Beneficial for Celiacs on Gluten-Free Diet
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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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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