I’ve blogged before about how nutritional deficiencies and gut health issues often go hand in hand. Not only do conditions like coeliac disease make absorbing nutrients more difficult but a restricted diet can also lead to missing out on key vitamins and minerals too.
I’ve written about nutritional deficiencies and Inflammatory Bowel Disease previously-but today I wanted to zoom in on which deficiencies those of you with coeliac disease need to look out for too! I’ve teamed up with gluten-free essentials company Juvela to share my tips and suggestions on how to make sure those of you with coeliac disease aren’t missing out on key nutrients.
You’ve probably heard that anaemia is one of the most common extraintestinal manifestation of Coeliac Disease. The problem is, it’s common particularly in women so when first presented, doctors often don’t recognise it as a symptom-and put it down to heavy periods or not eating enough meat.
That’s why it’s so important to keep on top of your levels and seek alternative sources. Low iron levels
One reason why I’d recommend Juvela to new coeliacs is that, unlike many gluten-free products, they’re reinforced with vitamins and minerals too. For example, using their Gluten-free Mixes instead of another flour mix means you’re also getting a good source of iron too alongside other vitamins. Iron supplements can cause digestive issues in themselves so reinforced foods are a great alternative.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I go on about Vitamin D A LOT. Sorry about that, but vitamin D deficiency is so common; and since we have vitamin D receptors in our gut-if our gut isn’t happy, we’re likely to be lacking in the sunshine vitamin too!
Vitamin D deficiency can cause all sorts of issues-including problems with bone development (which we all know those with coeliac disease are additionally at risk at). The government recommends everyone takes a 10iu dose during winter months but it could be worth getting your levels tested to see if you need a higher dose. I personally take liquid vitamin D drops (at 1000iu strength) as I was insufficient at my last check-up.
Low bone density is a common problem for those with coeliac disease. In fact, Coeliac UK suggest that up to 75% of those newly diagnosed with coeliac disease have reduced bone density (more info here)
The problem is, that many people are diagnosed after many years of symptoms; meaning their body has been struggling with depleted calcium levels for years. When we don’t have enough calcium in our body, we actually take it from our bones (weird, I know) which means they are more likely to break or soften. And without the support of Vitamin D too, things are even more problematic.
Calcium is incredibly important and many people will take a supplement initially. However, even when you’ve supplement, it’s still important to get it from food sources too. Both Juvela’s bread and flour mixes provide a source of calcium, but if you’re dairy-free too; make sure you always buy reinforced plant-based milk. Calcium works with Vitamin D so you’ll need them both to get results!
When I learnt about how many problems low vitamin B can cause, I was shocked! When people ask me about fatigue, I always recommend getting B Vitamins checked-because they are linked to so many aspects of our health; not only fatigue (Which is a problem for lots of us, am I right?) A scientific study showed 41% of coeliac patients were deficient in B12-and whilst this may normalise, you still might need to supplement.
B6 and B9 (folic acid) are other common problems. Both of these can cause low energy, and also mood changes and nerve issues (such as tingling). Folic acid is particularly important for women if they’re hoping to conceive or are pregnant.
Meat and eggs are good sources of the B vitamins-which can make things trickier if you’re not a big meat eater. Again, Juvela can help top up your levels-their entire bread and flour range contain B1, B2, B6, B9 and B3- making them great,
Magnesium deficiency is often talked about but it’s more common than you think. A study in 2013 found around 20% of coeliacs can suffer
actually lower our magnesium-as can things like drinking less tap water (since it’s such a good source) and being dehydrated (as we lose electrolytes when this happens). The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are things like cramping muscles, anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Magnesium is absorbed in our intestines-which means if our intestines aren’t in tip-top shape, we might not be taking what we should. Interestingly, magnesium and calcium compete in the body: meaning if you’re doctor has prescribed ultra-strength calcium tablets when you’re first diagnosed, it might have a knock on effect to the levels of Magnesium in your body. Because of this, you don’t want to take ultra-high doses and it’s wise to get your levels tested before supplementing (so your calcium levels aren’t affected). Rather than supplement, I recommend a Magnesium Spray which can be used before bed to improve sleep too.
And a note about Fibre
As well as missing out vital nutrients, giving up gluten also runs the risk of inadvertently cutting back on fibre -since so many of our usual wholegrain choices are out of the question. Fibre is vital for our gut health and can actually help us absorb our nutrients better.
Lots of the time, we replace
I hope this blog post was useful. You can see that having
Of course, supplementing is important; but using a product like Juvela’s bread and flours -which are available on prescription and in some Supermarkets- can help ensure you’re getting plenty of nutrition and meeting your daily fibre requirements through food sources too!
Time for a giveaway!
If you need some help getting started, you’re in luck! I’m giving away a whole bundle of Juvela’s gluten-free products. Just enter below…
This post has been written in collaboration with Juvela