A gluten-free diet can help your health out a lot, but it also has a potential to cause vitamin deficiencies. Gluten intolerance and vitamin deficiency are commonly linked.
What are the specific vitamins and minerals that will be less common in your foods if you start a gluten-free diet? The major ones are iron, Vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and various B vitamins. If you have fat malabsorption, you may also have issues getting enough vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Each of these is vitally important. Your body needs them to function at its best. Here’s a rundown of what they do and why you might have issues getting them if you’re on a gluten-free diet:
- Iron is what your blood uses to carry oxygen to your cells. Iron deficiency (also called anemia) will severally interrupt our life and can cause serious health issues, including death. The symptoms of low iron levels include weakness, fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
- Calcium, as you probably know from many a milk commercial, is good for bone health. It also helps ensure that blood clots when it needs to, as well as helping nerve function and muscle contractions. Celiac disease will impede calcium absorption and many people who have recently been diagnosed are lactose intolerant at least for a time. Since a lot of people get their calcium intake from dairy, getting enough can be an issue.
- Zinc is important for your nerve function, immune system, and digestive system.
- B vitamins play many roles. They help heart function, nerve function, and the production of red blood cells. They’re also essential to a healthy pregnancy. Common and important B vitamins you should be getting are folate and B12. Many foods are legally required to be enriched with B vitamins, but “specialty foods” like gluten-free bread and bread products do not have to follow these rules. B12 absorption is also reduced with age. Medications for the suppression of acid production also cause this issue.
- Vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K deficiencies are also issues that you can develop on a gluten-free diet. These are often found in foods that contain gluten and are another vitamin you may miss out on without supplements.
There are a number of ways to include these important vitamins in your gluten-free diet. A number of them, especially iron and B vitamins, can be found in animal protein. There are a number of gluten-free dairy alternatives that help lactose-intolerant people get calcium that will also help those with celiac disease. Sometimes you can find vitamin enriched gluten-free foods.
The easiest and surest way to make sure that you’re getting enough of these important vitamins, however, is using supplements for a gluten-free diet. Taking a few pills every day to make sure you stay healthy is going to be much easier than doing the math based on nutrition labels and your doctor’s recommendations. It’s also likely much cheaper, too. Many of these are good supplements for celiac healing, as well, since they will help your body repair the damage caused by your gluten allergy.
First thing’s first: check with a doctor and dietician. Your doctor can point you in the direction of dieticians who can help you design a celiac diet that keeps you in good health. Not only will a good dietician help you make sure you get the vitamins you need, they’ll also help you make sure you know that the “gluten-free” label is actually good food. (The FDA has only recently standardized the meaning of gluten-free and not all products are up to that standard quite yet).
Following the medical advice of these professionals, look for the right supplements for celiac healing to add to your diet. Here are a few common celiac diet supplements that they’ll recommend:
- Multivitamins are a common recommendation. These vitamins contain iron, zinc, b vitamins, and much more. They often have at least 100% of the recommended daily amount of these vitamins. There’s a number of brands and styles of multivitamins, from pills you can swallow that come in all sorts of sizes to gummies that you can chew.
- Vitamin D supplements are also very common and come in a number of styles, made by many different brands. Getting some sunshine, of course, is the most fun kind, but it’s not always an option.
- You can overdose on calcium, so make sure you pay careful attention to your dietician’s recommendations. Most will ask you to get calcium in your diet when you can. Most calcium supplements also have vitamin D in them.
While a gluten-free diet is going to miss some important vitamins and minerals, you can easily make sure you’re getting them with supplements. With just a couple pills a day, you’ll be starting on the road to better health in no time.
We have put a list of some of the to vitamins to supplement your gluten free diet.