Q. Do celiac patients on a gluten free diet need to take vitamins?
A. Proper nutrition is always an important issue for those suffering from celiac disease. Most would like to know if taking vitamins and nutritional supplements will aid their effort to attain and maintain optimum health. When persons with celiac disease eat gluten, they damage and inflame the villi of the small intestine, resulting in poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients in food. Even after a celiac embarks on a gluten free diet, vitamin deficiencies can continue to exist for several years. Experts have determined that although celiac patients do benefit from supplemental vitamins, they should never take any nutritional supplements or vitamins unless they are being monitored by, or under the supervision of, a physician. As current, over-the-counter guidelines for appropriate vitamin intake is based on healthy persons without diseases, persons with celiac disease should have their vitamin levels monitored by a registered dietitian and/or physician in order to determine the type and quantity of vitamins and/or nutritional supplements that are safe and effective to ingest.