32% of celiac patients have iron deficiency anemia
Of people diagnosed with celiac disease (CD) 46% had decreased iron storage, and 32% had anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is a common symptom of celiac disease. Unfortunately a study shows that practicing hematologists infrequently screen for CD in patients with iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the blood lacks the normal number of red blood cells. Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen to tissues and organs, and iron helps red blood cells carry that oxygen. When the body lacks iron, it also lacks the capacity to carry sufficient oxygen throughout your body resulting in a broad range of symptoms, including:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- heartbeat irregularities or chest pain
- cold or numb hands and feet
- brittle nails
Like most nutritional deficiencies that occur in people with celiac disease, anemia develops because CD is destructive and inflammatory and damages the lining of the small intestine. The portion of the intestine affected is called the duodenum and is where most nutritional absorption occurs. CD damages the duodenum by eliminating the absorptive villi that are covered by epithelium. Removal of the absorptive surface in the duodenum prevents the absorption of essential nutrients such as iron. B vitamins, such as B-12 and folic acid, are also essential for red blood cell formation and patients with celiac disease are also deficient in these important nutrients. Inflammation in the small intestine may also block the proper absorption and the transfer of iron across the epithelium.Celiac disease may prevent the active absorption of vitamin B-12 in the ileum, resulting in megaloblastic anemia. Therefore, the causes of anemia in celiac patients may be multifactorial. As a result the level of iron that makes it to the bloodstream – even when consuming foods high in iron – is significantly diminished. Iron-deficiency anemia is just one of several health issues that develop in CD and which may be improved with proper nutrition.
The Role of Red Blood Cells
Why are healthy red blood cells critical to good health? Red blood cells carry oxygen to all organs. Without enough oxygen, organs with high metabolic demands such as muscles and the brain cannot function normally. This results in fatigue, failure to concentrate, and depression. Iron deficiency following celiac disease may result first in a decrease of hemoglobin, without affecting the number of red blood cells. Even at this stage the patient will experience fatigue. Later in the course of the disease, if iron stores become low, the number of red blood cells becomes decreased, or anemia develops. Studies show that 32% of patients diagnosed with celiac disease have a concurrent diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. These patients may not respond to oral supplementation until a gluten free diet is instituted, and they may require initially intravascular transfusions of iron. It is often recommended these patients should also receive intra-muscular injections of vitamin B-12. Once a gluten free diet is instituted, and the intestine begins to heal, such patients should take iron supplementation daily for an indefinite period. These patients should be monitored by their physician using yearly blood collection for iron studies including hematocrit, hemoglobin, red cell size, transferrin saturation and ferritin.
Getting enough Iron
Patients with celiac disease and anemia may achieve improvement by including more iron-rich foods in their diets as well as foods with more vitamin C, which helps iron be absorbed. But for many CD patients, getting the nutrients their bodies need to stay healthy means taking supplements to counteract the body’s inability to absorb nutrients like iron. Malabsorption is compounded by gluten-free food choices remaining few and far between, and maintaining healthy eating can be problematic.
Because CD prevents the body from absorbing nutrients, choosing supplements that provide the most readily available form of vitamins and minerals is critical to ensuring enough of these nutrients “make it through” the physiological obstacle course set up by CD so they may be absorbed. Many gluten-free supplements fail to offer nutrients in a form that’s easy for CD patients to digest, which means the benefits they offer essentially go to waste.
CeliVites Blood Health is designed specifically to address these issues. Developing red blood cells in the bone marrow requires not only iron, but also folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-2 or riboflavin. Blood Health provides all of these in one capsule, with Vitamin C, which increases iron absorption. Blood Health differs from other supplements because it contains the chelated form of iron, Ferrochel or ferrous bisglycinate chelate, which has up to 3 times improved absorption over ferrous sulfate and fewer gastrointestinal side effects. The B vitamins are in the co-enzyme or bioavailable form. Folic acid is supplied as 5-MTHF or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, because a sub-set of people do not have the enzyme required for conversion of folic acid to the active coenzyme form, 5-MTHF. This entire system is designed for maximum absorption and is the only one like it without a prescription.
“The positive results we have heard from our customers has been very gratifying. We are so pleased to hear that CeliVites Blood Health has improved the health of our customers.” – Leigh Reynolds, founder of Gluten Free Therapeutics, maker of CeliVites
Gluten Free Therapeutics developed CeliVites nutritional supplements to overcome the challenge of proper and balanced nutrition facing people with celiac disease and its secondary conditions such as iron deficiency anemia. All CeliVites products contain the most absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals including iron for increased bioavailability. Each batch is tested for gluten so there’s no risk of gluten cross-contamination that pervades the gluten-free food and supplement industries. CeliVites are available in several formulations. See the complete line here.
This original article is made possible by Gluten Free Therapeutics. Our mission is to educate, inform, and provide the most effective nutritional products possible to allow those with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerances to heal their bodies. CeliVites complete line of superior gluten free supplements includes multivitamin/multimineral supplements, iron supplements, and calcium supplements for people living with celiac disease. All CeliVites products are designed to help you heal, restore and rebuild your body, because going gluten free isn’t enough!