Celiac disease and benefit of vitamin B
Like many diseases and conditions associated with celiac disease. The research into vitamin deficiency associated with the disease is scant.
A major 2009 study into vitamin supplement effectiveness on Celiac disease, as reported in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests that there are positive benefits.
Because celiac disease affects the intestine and its ability to absorb nutrients, celiac patients have long been advised to take vitamins to help repair their body and boost their immune system. The study looks at deficiency of folate and vitamin B12. The study found that ‘Hyperhomocysteinemia’ is significantly more frequent in patients with newly diagnosed coeliac disease than healthy controls.
Wikipedia says that “Hyperhomocysteinaemia is a medical condition characterized by an abnormally large level of homocysteine in the blood. It is thought to be caused by a gene defect. As a consequence of the biochemical reactions in which homocysteine is involved, deficiencies of the vitamins pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), or B12 can lead to high homocysteine levels. Supplementation with pyridoxine, folic acid, B12, or trimethylglycine (betaine) reduces the concentration of homocysteine in the bloodstream. Hyperhomocysteinaemia is a disease which increases risk of other artery or vein diseases.”
The focus of the Netherlands research team was to find the effect of vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12 daily supplements on homocysteine levels in patients with coeliac disease.
The level of vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12 was compared between celiac people (51) and non celiac people (50).
Before you read the ‘results’ of this research, it is useful to understand the figures. The statistical significance of a result tells us something about the degree to which the result is "true". The value of the p-value represents a decreasing index of the reliability of a result. The higher the p-value, the less we can believe that the observed relation between variables is true. For example, a p-value of 0.05 (i.e.,1/20) indicates that there is a 5% probability that the relation between the variables found in our sample is a "fluke." Typically, in many sciences, results that yield p< 0.05 are considered borderline statistically significant. P < 0.005 or p < 0.001 levels are often called "highly" significant.
The researchers “found that patients with celiac disease and using vitamin supplements had higher serum vitamin B6 (P = 0.003), folate (P < 0.001), and vitamin B12 (P = 0.012) levels than patients who did not or healthy controls (P = 0.035, P < 0.001, P = 0.007, for vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12, respectively).” Ref 1
It was concluded that the regular use of B-vitamin supplements is effective in reduction of homocysteine levels in patients with celiac disease. The presence and the severity of coeliac disease were determinants of homocysteine levels. The regular use of B vitamin supplements was associated with higher serum vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12 and lower plasma homocysteine levels in patients with coeliac disease.
Clearly, hyperhomocysteinemia should be avoided and if celiac patients are more at risk, and vitamin B supplements reduces the value, then it makes sense for celiac to continue their vitamin regime.
Regardless of if you have a homocysteine issue, B vitamin supplements are thought to have a protective role against the effect of villous atrophy (damage to the intestine).
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