One of the major health concerns regarding a gluten-free diet is increased homocysteine levels. Recently, a recent study found that by taking B vitamin supplements, celiac patients can reduce this risk.
What exactly is homocysteine? Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Other evidence suggests that homocysteine may have an effect on atherosclerosis by damaging the inner lining of arteries and promoting blood clots.
Even when faithfully following a gluten-free diet, celiac patients are more likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies and poor health. Gluten-free products are often low in B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber as very few gluten-free foods are not fortified with these nutrients.
In the study that was recently conducted, celiac patients were treated with not only a gluten-free diet, healing their small intestine and increasing absorption of nutrients, but they were also given B vitamin supplements. It was found that those who took this supplement and maintained a gluten-free diet had significantly higher levels of B vitamins in the blood and lower levels of homocysteine, compared with a group who only maintained a gluten-free diet and another control group.
What does this mean for you? Researchers are now saying that B vitamin supplements
should be considered in disease management. In addition to your gluten-free diet, you should take B vitamin supplements daily, making sure these include vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12. It is fortunate the celiac community now has this vital information, and as celiac research continues, we can look forward to more helpful data from researchers.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.