Monday, May 13, 2013

Celiac Awareness Month fun fact #13

Celiac Disease can cause severe vitamin & mineral deficiencies. 

People with celiac disease often have deficiencies of vitamin D and magnesium, which can compound and worsen the malabsorption of calcium, leading to low bone density and osteoporosis. Since the body only uses small amounts of magnesium, this deficiency can be corrected.

Calcium is one of the most common deficiencies associated with celiac disease. Damage to the intestines leads to an inability to absorb calcium. When the supply of calcium is low, calcium is pulled from the bone reservoir in order to provide calcium for the bloodstream. Eventually, the reservoir starts to dry up and the bones become brittle, a sign of osteoporosis. Low calcium can also cause convulsions and parasthesias, or a feeling of "pins and needles."

Folic acid is best absorbed in the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, so people with celiac disease may suffer from a deficiency in this vitamin. A deficiency can increase irritability and forgetfulness, and plays a role in neurological defects, anemia, blood disorders, GI disturbances and depressive symptoms.

A deficiency in vitamin B-12 is common in patients with celiac disease, as indicated in a study published in March 2001 in the "American Journal of Gastroenterology." When the last part of the small intestine is damaged, which can occur with severe cases of celiac disease, vitamin B-12 malabsorption may result. This deficiency can cause anemia, peripheral neuropathy, balance disturbances and dementia.

The fat-soluble vitamins -- A, D, E and K -- are also absorbed in the upper intestine, so those with celiac disease who have damage to their intestinal villi will have deficiencies. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause anemia, night blindness and reproductive, vision and growth problems. A vitamin D deficiency causes soft, deformed bones in children and can contribute to calcium and bone problems like osteoporosis in adults. Vitamin E deficiency has been associated with neurological problems, while vitamin K deficiency impedes blood clotting.

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