10 Supplements for Celiac Disease
There are a variety of reasons why you may need to take supplements for celiac disease. Most pressingly, when you have celiac disease, you are at risk for several nutrient deficiencies as you are healing your gut from gluten damage (which can take upwards of 1-2 years).
In this post I’ll discuss 10 supplements for celiac disease that people with this diagnosis should consider.
Table of Contents
Why People with Celiac Disease Need Supplements
Celiac disease is a condition where when you eat the protein gluten (which is commonly found in many grains like wheat), your body attacks itself. Specifically, when you eat gluten, the villi in your small intestine are damaged.
The villi in your small intestine are responsible for helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and other minerals and nutrients.
More specifically, celiac disease impacts the duodenum which mainly involves the absorption of vitamin B12 and iron.
However damage, though not as severe in the duodenum, has also been found in the jejunum and ileum as well. This means when there is damage, you are at risk for deficiency for the following additional nutrients:
- Vitamin A, D, E, K
- The B Vitamins
Additionally, a gluten-free diet is often deficient in necessary nutrients and might require supplementation even after healing. Learn more about the 5 most common gluten-free diet deficiencies here.
First, I want to make it clear I am a huge supporter of the Food First approach. This means, I believe if you can, it’s better to get your nutrients from food rather than take supplements.
However, when you have celiac disease, sometimes it’s not feasible to take this approach. As your gut might be too damaged, you’re struggling with balancing your diet, and more.
Here’s another friendly reminder to check-in with your healthcare professionals to see if and what supplements are best/safe for you. This post is not meant to take the place of individualized care provided by your health care team.
10 Supplements for Celiac Disease
Iron Supplements and Celiac
Commonly people who are diagnosed with Celiac disease experience iron-deficiency anemia.
Having Celiac disease and iron-deficiency anemia is actually very common.
In fact, anemia is one of many potential indicators of celiac disease because of the characteristic damage done to the duodenum of the small intestine impairing the body’s ability to absorb iron. This is why iron supplementation can be beneficial for celiac.
If you know me, you know I am all about affordability and ordering things through Amazon (convenience is everything y’all) so I like to order my supplements from Amazon (this is not a sponsored post though I am using affiliate links throughout this post at no cost you).
Surprisingly, Amazon’s iron supplement is gluten-free and vegan! SCORE!
You can also try to include more iron into your diet, to learn more, check out my post on Gluten-free Iron Rich Foods.
Calcium supplements For Celiac Disease
Celiac disease and osteoporosis: people with celiac disease are at increased risk for osteoporosis because of their potential impaired ability to absorb calcium if the villi remain damaged or were damaged for a long time.
The villi in the small intestine are responsible for absorbing calcium (among other nutrients) and if they are damaged, can cause calcium deficiency.
This means even if you are eating enough calcium, your body might not be absorbing it, putting you at risk for this horrific bone disease.
Additionally, to absorb calcium, you need an adequate amount of Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin that people with Celiac disease are also at risk for deficiency in. Further putting you at risk for osteoporosis and calcium deficiency.
The good news? Calcium and Vitamin-D may help.
Magnesium is another mineral absorbed in the small intestine leaving you at risk to be deficient in this nutrient too.
This mineral plays an important role in our bodies such as blood sugar management, blood pressure regulation, maintenance of muscles and nerve function, and it can even help support the immune system.
The best absorbable form of magnesium supplement wise is Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Aspartate, or Magnesium Citrate.
Zinc Supplement for Celiac
Zinc is an essential mineral involved in several important body processes. Often people with celiac disease can be deficient in Zinc.
It is important for wound healing, appetite, growth, and immunity.
Supplement wise, Zinc Picolinate is probably the easiest form for your body to absorb. Though more expensive then other kinds of Zinc supplements, it’s all about quality when it comes to supplements.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins that are absorbed in the small intestine. If you are newly diagnosed with celiac or still healing, you could be at risk for being deficient in these vitamins.
Vitamin A – is good for vision, vital organ processes, immunity, and reproduction.
Vitamin D – already mentioned in the calcium discussion, it’s vital for bone health, immunity, and other vital health processes.
Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps fight off free radical damage. It can be good for the skin and nail.
Vitamin K – is important for blood clotting, bone health, and blood calcium levels.
These Fat Soluble Vitamins can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to supplementing these vitamins, a Multivitamin might be best. In fact, a multivitamin with all of the nutrients of concern when it comes to celiac disease is optimal.
I should also say, true deficiencies in these vitamins are not as common.
The B Vitamins
There are multiple B vitamins of concern when it comes to a healthy diet. They all have their important roll in cell and body processes.
With that said, B12 as mentioned earlier, is the biggest concern because of the characteristic damage to the duodenum.
A B-Complex can be beneficial in ensuring you’re getting enough of all B-vitamins. Especially since a few of them, like folate (or folic acid), are often found in fortified grains that are eliminated from the gluten-free diet after diagnosis.
Fiber Supplements For Celiac Disease
Fiber is so important for gut health and often with celiac, people miss out on it.
At least at first, while their trying to learn how to eat gluten-free.
Taking a fiber supplement can help as you learn to balance your diet but make sure you work with your health care provider before starting it. Check out my post on a Gluten-Free Diet and Fiber for more info on how to balance you gluten-free diet with fiber.
Also be mindful of your water consumption. You always want to make sure you increase your water intake as you increase fiber to prevent constipation with celiac.
L-Gutamine Supplementation for Celiac
L-Glutamine can be found in eggs, beef, skim milk, tofu, white rice, corn, and other complete protein sources.
This essential amino acid is used for a variety of body processes, one of which is the building and repair of tissues. Not only that but it plays a role in digestive health, helping keep your gut happy and healthy.
This is not to be confused with glutamine peptides as these are typically derived from wheat and are the precursors to L-Glutamine.
Probiotic Supplements for CeliaC disease
Probiotics can help with gut health which naturally would be good for celiac.
Probiotics can help balance your good gut bacteria, aid in digestion, improve mood and so much more.
However, there is a lot of science out there suggesting that the efficacy of different probiotics vary greatly.
Finding a probiotic supplement that helps celiac and your needs requires specific strains matched to your needs.
Because this area is so varied, I won’t provide any suggested supplements but instead, encourage you to work with your healthcare provider to find a probiotic that works for you.
Check out my post on Celiac Disease and Probiotics to learn more.
Taking electrolyte with celiac are specific to if you’re suffering with a tough bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
Fluid loss can deplete your body of essential electrolytes required to do basic functions (like beat your heart).
If your symptoms with celiac include fluid-loss, it might be good to keep some gluten-free electrolytes on hand.
Do Gluten Enzymes and Gluten Cutters Work?
There is zero research to support that these enzymes or supplements prevent damage to the small intestine after gluten ingestion if you have celiac. The same goes for activated charcoal.
These supplements are only proven to help people with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity, not celiac.
Basically, science and research isn’t there to support the use of these supplements.
How to Buy Gluten-Free Supplements
Currently the supplement industry is highly unregulated so sourcing safe gluten-free supplements can be hard.
Some of my tips include:
- Make sure your supplements say “gluten-free” or even better, “certified gluten-free”
- Consider asking supplement brands if the do any 3rd part testing to ensure gluten-free status. I know pure encapsulations does.
- Natural doesn’t mean safe. Look for NSF, USP, or GMP certification
- ALWAYS talk to your health care providers before starting any new supplement.
Work with a Celiac Dietitian
DISCLAIMER: This post only directly applies to my friends with celiac disease. While I try to be an all-inclusive gluten-free blog, sometimes things will only apply to my non-celiac gluten sensitive friends and sometimes (like in this case), my posts will only apply to my friends with celiac disease.
As always, when sourcing your supplements make sure to do your own diligent research on whether or not they meet your own personal safety standards. The supplements linked in this post are mere suggestions but ingredients can change so make sure you are doing your own research and consulting with your health-care team before making purchases.
This post (and any other post on this site) is NOT to take the place of medical advice from your health care team. Always consult your health care team before making changes to your diet and taking supplements.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.