Why are vitamins and minerals so important? They are the tools your body uses to function. Think of nutrients as the building blocks to all of your tissues. Without them, your body can’t heal, repair, or maintain itself. Multiple studies have shown the relationship between vitamin and mineral deficiencies and gluten intolerance and celiac disease. It is well established that damage to the intestinal cells can lead to malabsorption and poor digestion. One study showed that celiac patients following the gluten free diet still had vitamin and mineral deficiencies after 10 years of compliance.(1) Add to this the fact that the chronic autoimmune inflammatory damage taxes the nutritional status of the body and we are left with chronically ill patients who need supplementation as part of their recovery process.(2-5) Many with gluten sensitivity have persistent health issues like heart burn, depression, IBS, low hormones, etc and take natural supplements and medications for their symptoms. Now add to this that almost 1/4 of all supplements and even prescription medications contain hidden gluten and we have a major medical disaster.(6)
Extremely… Let’s take a look at what a recent research study published in the medical journal, Nutrients(7), found:
The scary part about this – not all nutrients were even tested. For example, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B8, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, selenium, chromium, iodine, vitamin K, vitamin E, and essential omega fats were not evaluated. The reality is, these nutrients are vital to fight inflammation, repair damaged tissue, regulate immune function, produce thyroid hormones, produce digestive enzymes, replicate new cells, regulate the adrenal glands, produce energy, help with fat metabolism, and much, much more. How do you heal? How do you maintain health when these essential nutrients are deficient?
The reality is this – many with gluten sensitivity take medications for other health problems. Unfortunately, the doctors don’t always talk about this problem with patients. The problem is so big that books have been written to address the topic(8,9). Consider the following quote from a paper published in the medical journal, Pediatric Clinics of North America (10):
Good clinical care extends beyond mere diagnosis and treatment of disease to appreciation that nutrient deficiencies can be the price of effective drug therapy. The major risk factors for developing drug-induced nutrient deficiencies are lack of awareness by the prescribing physician and long duration of drug therapy.
The average adult over age 35 is on 3 or more medications. Some of the most common ones include drugs for pain, heartburn, depression, thyroid disease, antibiotics, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The consequence of these medications can contribute to the loss of iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, and folate. The sad irony here is that doctors give the drugs to “treat” disease, but by “treating” patients this way, nutritional loss ensues. Many of the symptoms being medicated are the same symptoms caused by the nutritional loss. For example – high blood pressure drugs cause magnesium loss, and magnesium loss causes high blood pressure. How do you escape this vicious cycle?
The answer is – KNOWLEDGE. Making sure your doctor tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies is an essential first step. Nutritional supplementation while on these medications is also a priority, but beware…
Don’t flush your money and health down the toilet. A recent study investigated over the counter vitamin and mineral supplements for the presence of gluten, and the results were alarming for those who are trying to follow a gluten free diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle through the use of multi-vitamins, probiotics, etc. Almost 24% of the products tested had enough gluten in them to create inflammatory damage. Here is a quote directly from the study:
we investigated the presence of gluten in twenty one common dietary supplements from the national market using the immunochromatographic assay. This visual assay proved to be an efficient rapid tool for gluten screening as an alternative to the ELISA techniques. The results have shown the presence of gluten in 23.8% of the investigated samples (vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, probiotics supplements, lactoferrin, propolis supplements).
Many supplement manufactures process multiple products in their facilities. Often times, grain is used as a filler or additive. Wheat germ is a common example of a gluten based ingredient being used in supplement processing. This same problem can be seen in a number of prescription and over the counter medications. Below is a list of commonly used terms that may be grain based fillers in vitamin supplement products:
If you have stayed up to date with current literature and research regarding corn gluten, then you are aware of Gluten Free Society’s stance on this problem. If you are not aware, go here now and catch up. Corn based fillers are extremely common in supplement products. As a matter of fact, most brands of vitamin C are derived from corn. This is one of the many reasons why vitamin C formulations cause reactions in patients with gluten intolerance issues. As corn is easily hidden and disguised in many ways, I have put together a list of terms you will want to be aware of to avoid this contaminant in your supplements. If you are in need of probiotics and vitamin supplements without gluten, you can go here.
Introducing Ultra Nutrients. This new formulation was designed to offer superior nutritional support for those with gluten sensitivity. Unlike most brands, this Ultra high-quality, hypoallergenic, multivitamin/mineral blend includes activated vitamins and minerals including:
This advanced nutritional formula is free of: wheat, gluten, corn, rice, yeast, soy, dairy, fish (including shellfish), peanuts, tree nuts, egg, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.