B-Vitamin Supplements Proven To Help Patients With Celiac Disease 06/04/12

A 2009 study published  in the World Journal Of Gastroenterology showed that celiac disease patients commonly have sub-optimal nutritional status of certain B- vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12). As these vitamins are required to keep homocysteine in a safe range, many celiac patients have high blood levels of homocysteine, which increases their risk for heart disease, stroke and other vascular complications. Homocysteine is a chemical made in all body cells, which left unchecked  diffuses into the bloodstream and causes damage to the blood vessel wall – setting the stage for plaque development with resulting increased risk for heart attack, stroke etc. Some reports suggest that 10% of all heart attacks in the US each year are attributable to high homocysteine levels.

There are no drugs that lower homocysteine. The body relies on vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin B12 to recycle homocysteine back to methionine or to serine within our cells. This keeps homocysteine blood levels in the ideal range. Thus, even marginal deficiencies in these B-vitamins can result in higher homocysteine levels, with resulting increased risk of vascular disease.

Celiac patients have damage to the absorptive lining of the intestinal tract and, thus, do not absorb many nutrients, including B-vitamins, as well as patients with normal intestinal health. In the 2009 study researchers gave a sub-group of celiac disease patients a B-vitamin supplement (including vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12), only to discover that their blood homocysteine levels declined into the normal and safer range.

The lesson here is that all celiac disease patients should take a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral that contains a B-50 complex, to help overcome the general absorption problems caused by the disease. This would help to improve their nutritional status of all important micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and reduce risk of premature vascular disease, by helping to keep homocysteine within a safe range. As celiac patients are known to be prone to high homocysteine levels they should pay heed to the findings of this study from the standpoint of helping to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, as an important factor in the long term managment of their health.

Reference:

Hadithi et al. Effect of B vitamin supplementation on plasma homocysteine levels in celiac disease. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2009; 15 (8): 955

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