Celiac disease is a severe autoimmune disorder in which an individual’s small intestine is damaged by gluten consumption. Here, we take an insider’s look at the disorder, then we look at five supplements that can be beneficial for individuals with celiac disease.
A Look at Celiac Disease
Celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.” For those patients so diagnosed, the immune system is dysfunctionally predisposed to attack the small intestine following the consumption of gluten.
The effects of gluten consumption for celiac individuals are many, which explains why the affliction can be difficult to live with. A person with celiac disease must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. This includes avoiding even crumbs of foods containing gluten, since even very small amounts can trigger a reaction. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley. These are ingredients found in many types of foods, which can make it very difficult to maintain a gluten-free diet.
The consequences of untreated or undiagnosed celiac disease can be very damaging. These can include lactose intolerance, iron deficiency anemia, liver failure, heart disease, neurological issues (e.g. ADHD, seizures, dementia), and many other unwanted conditions. Because of this, it is highly important that celiac individuals avoid gluten completely.
Supplements For Those With Celiac Disease
Certain supplements can be beneficial and therefore quite important for celiac disease sufferers. About 87.5 percent of diagnosed celiac patients have at least one nutrient deficiency. If a celiac individual consumes gluten, the gut can be damaged, causing malabsorption and nutrient deficiency. As a result, the gut is unable to heal from lack of nutrients. This “cycle” of nutrient deficiency can affect celiac individuals years after they stopped consuming gluten.
The following supplements have been shown to benefit celiac individuals in one way or another. Talk to your doctor before taking any of these supplements. This is very important, since nearly 25 percent of supplements contain gluten due to the manufacturing environment.
Vitamin D is so crucial for bodily health, and it can be instrumental in bolstering the health of celiac individuals. This key vitamin helps protect the gastrointestinal tract by regulating tight junction proteins, junctures where nutrients enter the bloodstream. This helps prevent “leaky gut,” a condition wherein unwanted food contents break the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing both EPA and DHA are useful for celiac individuals, who are often deficient in omega-3s. Gluten tends to cause fat malabsorption in celiac individuals.
Iron supplements can likewise be useful for celiac patients, especially if they are known to have a deficiency in it. Fatigue is the primary symptom of iron deficiency, which occurs in about 30 percent of newly diagnosed celiac patients. Exercise caution, though, as iron should only be taken under your doctor’s supervision.
Calcium levels tend to be low in persons with celiac disease, and this is a common precursor of bone disease. Calcium works with vitamin D to keep bones, muscles, and nerves strong and functioning properly.
A vitamin B complex supplement can be very helpful for celiac individuals, because absorption of the B vitamins can be compromised in those with celiac disease. B12 and B9 deficiencies are common among celiac patients, and both vitamins are necessary for good health for many reasons, including cell production.
Supplementing with the right vitamins and nutrients can be instrumental in overcoming the nutrient deficiencies that are common among those with celiac disease. If you or a family member have celiac disease, take all of these supplements into consideration. Because of the serious nature of celiac disease, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor before adding them to your daily regimen of medications and supplements.