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Celiac disease and vitamin B12 deficiency are interrelated, but many celiacs are unaware of the high risk for developing vitamin B-12 deficiency. Like celiac disease, vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes an autoimmune disorder brought on by pernicious anemia.
What is vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B12, “cyanocobalamin,” is an essential nutrient that occurs in protein foods, such as beef and chicken liver, oysters, shrimp, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and is stored in the liver.
B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, for protecting your nervous system, for supporting cardiovascular health, and for sustaining normal cognitive functioning, such as memory, thinking skills, and logic.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency?
If you are unable to sustain sufficient amounts of B12 in your liver, then you may start to feel tired, depressed, and disoriented. You might notice a numbing or tingling sensation in your hands and feet, described as “pins and needles.”
You might also notice that you have a hard time remembering important dates or meetings, or finding the right word while talking to somebody or sending an e-mail.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac patients and others with gluten intolerance must avoid all products containing gluten- baked goods, packaged snacks, and a long list of food additives- in order to avoid symptoms.
Celiac disease is one of many autoimmune diseases that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency. With celiac, patients who eat any foods containing gluten experience painful symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and achiness. That is because their immune system identifies gluten as a threat, and begins to attack traces of gluten in the digestive system, causing severe damage to the intestinal tract.
Why are celiac disease patients at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Scientists don’t claim that celiac disease is an outright cause of low vitamin B12, but they have noted a strong correlation- enough to warrant extensive research and recommendations.
In order to digest nutrients such as vitamin B12 properly, you need to have a healthy digestive system. People with autoimmune diseases that cause gastrointestinal damage, such as Hashimoto’sdisease, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac diseases, are unable to absorb nutrients from dietary sources because of damage to their stomach linings, small intestines or colon.
For them, malabsorption often leads to anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy in the hands and feet (thus the tingling and numbness).
Celiac disease patients, and others who can’t absorb vitamin B12
Besides celiac disease, other factors can make it difficult for your body to absorb enough vitamin B12:
Inability to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary protein for B12 vitamin absorption
Gastrointestinal surgeries (gastric bypass, IBD surgery) that involve removing your ileum, a part of your small intestine that helps you digest vitamin B12 from food
Long-time usage of heartburn medications
Following a vegan diet
Does following a gluten-free diet cure vitamin B12 deficiency?
Not entirely; according to research by the University of Edinburgh, people who suffer celiac disease, but do not receive treatment, have a 41% chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
In celiac patients who started following a gluten-free diet, most of their symptoms disappeared. However, a significant amount of celiacs continued to suffer neuropathic symptoms such as tingling and numbness, and those side effects did not disappear until they brought their vitamin B12 levels back to normal with routine vitamin B12 supplements.
Read more about preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
Don’t let celiac disease or other food allergies like lactose intolerance keep you from enjoying major league baseball. Yummy gluten-free dietmenus for gluten intolerance are available at most ballparks. Find your favorite gluten-free beer, hot dogs with tapioca-rice hot dog buns, and more. Before you sit down to enjoy the game, check out this gluten-free food list for baseball fans.
Sufferers of celiac disease follow a gluten free diet, but many don’t add vitamin B12. People with autoimmune disease or gluten intolerance getB12 deficiency more often than not, according to health experts. Doctors advise sufferers of digestive diseases or pernicious anemia to supplement with B12.
Celiac disease facts:
“Alternative Names: Also classified as a disease of nutrient malabsorption, celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.” –DiagnoseMe.com
Celiac disease (Gluten Enteropathy) is a digestive disease that causes severe damage to the small intestine’s lining.
Celiac disease is also an autoimmune disease. When any food containing gluten enters the body, the body proceeds to attack its own digestive system, harming the inner lining of the small intestine.
Gluten is a protein that occurs primarily in wheat, rye, and barley. All baked goods, snacks, or condiments that contain gluten are hazardous to patients with celiac disease.
Celiac disease patients have difficulty digesting vitamins and minerals from food sources, particularly vitamin B12, which can lead to severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
Some symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, flatulence, blood in the stool, pernicious anemia caused by B12 deficiency, and stunted growth.
There is no confirmed cure for celiac disease. Physicians recommend lifestyle changes, such as following a gluten-free diet and supplementing with vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: What’s the connection?
“Since most B12 in our diets comes from animal products, vegans are at risk for B12 deficiency. Crohn’s and celiac disease, weight loss surgery, and chronic alcoholism can all interfere with a person’s ability to absorb enough of the nutrients they need. Seniors have more problems with nutrient absorption and malnutrition as well.” –WebMD
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that occurs naturally in protein sources such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk products.
Your body needs vitamin B12 for the nervous system, building red blood cells, mental clarity, maintaining metabolism, and preventing dementia.
According to one study, celiac disease patients run a high risk of developing vitamin deficiencies. Out of over 400 celiac disease patients, 12% suffered folate deficiency and 5% were deficient in vitamin B12. Among men, 33% had iron deficiency, while 19% of women had low iron levels.
Scientists conclude that damage to the small intestine in celiac disease patients prevents them from properly absorbing nutrients, thus causing severe malnourishment.
Scientists also speculate that following a gluten-free diet might also contribute to vitamin deficiencies, adding that many gluten-free products lack sufficient B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, fiber or vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and treatment
Only a blood screening for low B12 can confirm if you have vitamin B12 deficiency.
Some symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, depression, psychosis, memory loss, brain fog, tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet, altered taste perception, and loss of balance.
In some cases, following a gluten-free diet is effective at maintaining vitamin B12 levels.
For people who exhibit celiac disease symptoms in addition to symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors advise immediate supplementation of B12.
Vitamin B12 supplementation can include weekly B12 injections, and may follow up with sublingual vitamin B12 tablets.
For many, B12 shots cause bruising, and are extremely painful, as they require insertion into thick, muscular tissue. A popular option is to supplement with an alternative weekly over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplement, which administers the same amount of vitamin B12 as the B12 injections, without the pain, and doesn’t require prescription.
Gluten FreeDiet-Safe Halloween Treats-Before buying Halloween treats for kids with Celiac disease symptoms, see our gluten-free candy list for October 2011. Following a gluten-free diet couldn’t be easier, even if your family suffers from autoimmune disease or gluten allergy.
Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
People with Celiac disease or other gluten intolerance symptoms must follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, is a common ingredient in most baked goods, snacks, and other packaged foods. Symptoms of Celiac, an autoimmune disease, include stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and vitamin B12 deficiency.
Look no farther than the Jelly Belly candy display for the tastiest candy corn! Jelly Belly makes delicious assorted jellybeans and other candy confections that are (mostly) gluten-free, dairy-free, gelatin-free, vegetarian, and OU Kosher. For a list of Jelly Belly products to avoid this year, see Avoid these NOT Gluten-Free Halloween Candies, below. Get their Halloween Fun Pack for $4.99.
Gluten Free for Chocolate Lovers
The following chocolate bars and chocolate confections are safe for people with gluten intolerance and wheat allergies:
Baby Ruth bars
Butterfinger Original only
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins
York Peppermint Patties
3 Musketeers bars
Gummy Candies, Jelly Beans, and Chewy Candies- Nom, Nom!
These stick-to-your-teeth candies are soft, chewy, and sticky-sweet. Best of all, no gluten!
Black Forest Gummies, including Gummy Werewolves and Gummy Vampires
Mike and Ike
Peeps Ghosts Marshmallow Candy
Starburst Fruit Chews
Welch’s Fruit Snacks
Lollipops and Hard Candies
Which lollipops are okay for kids with Celiac disease? These hard Halloween candies are guaranteed to be free of gluten.
Charms Flat Pops
Spangler Dum-Dums and Saf-T-Pops
Lifesavers individual flavors
Avoid these NOT Gluten-Free Halloween Candies:
Chocolate Bars to Pass on
Nestle 100 Grand Bar
Nestle Crunch Bar
Original Milky Way Bar
Butterfinger: Butterfinger Crisp Bar, Butterfinger Giant Bar, Butterfinger Snackerz, Butterfinger Medallions, Butterfinger Jingles, Butterfinger Hearts, and Butterfinger Pumpkins
Hershey’s Symphony Bar
Hershey’s Almond Joy
Don’t Chew on These
Wonka Nerds (most flavors)
Jelly Belly- assorted bridge mixes, chocolate malt balls, and licorice buttons and pastels contain gluten.
Are you planning a road trip this summer? If you or any of your travelmates are on a celiac disease restrictive diet, it’s important to pack plenty of healthy travel snacks for the ride that are gluten-free. There are oodles of delicious, low-cost natural and packaged food items that appeal to even the finickiest of children with celiac disease. Assemble your own gluten-free snack pack from home, so you’ll always be prepared.
Here are some great snack travel tips for adults and kids with celiac disease or gluten intolerance:
Larabar brand snack bars are completely gluten-free: not only do they contain 100% gluten-free diet ingredients, but also their manufacturing plant is a gluten-free facility, so there’s no danger of gluten cross-contamination. With over one dozen flavors, such as Ginger Snap, Cherry Pie, and their new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, you’ll never get bored!
Slip a few packets of Justin’s gourmet peanut butter packets in your travel bag or purse; it’s so much tastier than plain butter on your gluten-free toast, and it packs a protein punch. Justin’s Products are gluten-free, organic, and delicious. Their nut butters come in peanut, almond, and hazelnut; flavors include Chocolate, Maple, Honey, and Classic. They taste excellent paired with Mary’s Gone CrackersOriginal flavor vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free crackers.
If you’re hankering for a quick crunch, then Glutino’s Gluten-Free Pretzels fit the bill. Get the giant family bag, so everyone can enjoy the wheat-free, gluten-free, casein-free goodness. Glutino’s offers a wide selection of frozen meals, baking mixes, bakery items, and snack foods that are all catered to the celiac disease restrictive diet.
Some cheap staples from home include GF microwave popcorn, fresh fruit, water bottles (labeled with permanent marker), boxed soymilk, and GF Rice Krispies.
Also, check out Gluten-Free Mommy’s30 snack ideasfor a list of other yummy celiac-friendly munchies.
Gluten-Free Friendly Markets:
A number of popular supermarkets offer a wide selection of frozen meals, mixes, bakery items, and snacks that are safe for individuals on restrictive diets. Many of the items mentioned appear on their health food aisle. Alternatively, health food grocery chains such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’ssell competitively priced organic, wheat-free, casein-free, and gluten-free snack foods, and have branches in all 50 states. Before you hit the road, check to see if they have any branches in or around your vacation destination, in case you need to replenish your food supplies
Necessary Equipment and Supplies:
Here are just a few no-brainer supplies you should always remember to pack:
From Celinal Foods: you’ll wonder how you ever got along without this. Now you can have your gluten-free bread, and toast it, too! If you’re a celiac disease patient on a restrictive diet, you won’t have to worry anymore about gluten cross-contamination while traveling, as long as you keep a few of these toaster bags handy. Just slip a slice of bread into the insulated pouch, pop it into the toaster, and voila! Your toast stays nice and warm, and any preexistent glutinous breadcrumbs stay out. You can also make grilled cheese sandwiches, tuna melts, toasted bagels…whatever you’re in the mood for. The reusable nonstick Toast-it bag is safe to use in all toasters, toaster ovens, and countertop (grill) sandwich makers.
Breakdowns happen. If you’re going on a long road trip with the family, it’s a good idea to prepare for the worst, and hope it doesn’t happen. Going camping? Even more reason to invest in a Coleman portable stove, such as their All-In-One Cooking System for $149.99.
One of the best ways to treat IBD is to follow a diet plan that alleviates most of the symptoms. There are many food ingredients that are associated with increased Crohn’s disease symptoms: dairy, gluten, sugar, and grains, for example.
The gluten-free diet excludes all food items that contain gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and others.
The casein-free diet eliminates the specific protein that occurs naturally in milk, while the dairy-free diet rules out all dairy products as a whole.
What are the best diets for children with autism? Here are some gluten-free diet dips, plus 5 more great eating plans for kids with special needs.
Autism is a brain disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate feelings, desires, and needs. Autistic children are often referred to as “special needs,” because they require individualized attention.
One common symptom of autism is the tendency to suffer gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and constipation. According to Livestrong, almost half of all children diagnosed with autism spectrum require a special diet, such as a gluten-free diet plan, to prevent stomach upset. Additionally, scientists have also noticed a decrease in some of the behavioral signs of autism in children who followed special diets.
Below is a list of 6 popular diets for children with autism which have been found to drastically improve their health:
1) Gluten-Free Diet (GF)
Gluten is a protein which occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Many individuals, in addition to children with Asperger’s syndrome or other forms of autism, have benefited greatly from removing all products which contain gluten from their diet. A wide range of bakery items, mixes, packaged snack foods and flours which are labeled gluten-free are available at most health food stores. Grains which do not have gluten are popcorn, brown rice and whole-grain corn meal. 2) Casein-Free Diet (CF)
Casein is a protein found all milk products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and milk derivatives, such as whey. Many people who benefit from a dairy-free diet will often omit gluten as well. The gluten free-casein free (GFCF) diet has helped children and adults manage allergies and promote intestinal health.
Based on the theory that autism and a multitude of other health problems are caused by pathogenic organisms which escape the infected gut and attack the rest of the body, the BED diet incorporates a combination of cultured foods, healthy oils and reduced carbohydrates and sugars for generating good bacteria in the intestines.
4) Low Oxalate Diet
Oxalates are salts which occur in naturally in many vegetables, fruits and other plant-based food items, such as sweet potatoes, strawberries and chocolate. A low-oxalate diet is often prescribed for people who get kidney stones.
Many autistic children whose parents have restricted oxalates from their diets have experienced improved urinary tract health, clearer skin when eczema was a factor, better digestive health, and enhanced feelings of wellness.
5) Nutrient-Rich Diet
The inclusion of various vitamin-rich foods, supplements, healthy oils, lean proteins and dietary fiber has been used as an autism treatment for children with autism spectrum and Asperger’s, in addition to children with ADHD.
Children with autism who suffer vitamin B12 deficiency, for example, often feel fatigued, irritable and restless. Nutritionists who treat special needs children have noted a rapid improvement in mental clarity, energy levels and overall health with the addition of beneficial vitamin B12 supplements and omega-3 foods, such as salmon, flaxseed and walnuts, t0 their diet.
6) Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SC)
The Specific Carbohydrate Dietwas originally developed for patients of Crohn’s disease and colitis, and is based on the premise that rotted, undigested carbohydrates sit in the gut and harm our immune system. The SC diet recommends restricting certain carbohydrates, while encouraging the consumption protein foods such as meat, fish and eggs, vegetables and fruit, and healthy oils, such as nuts and seeds.