DO YOU NEED TO TAKE A DAILY VITAMIN (AND MINERALS) IF YOU HAVE IBD?
You need your vitamins whether you have Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or are perfectly healthy. You can get vitamin D from the sun (sometimes) and most others from what you eat – as long as you eat a healthy and balanced diet.
In Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, vitamin and mineral needs are often increased, especially when the disease is active and flaring. For those who have active disease with nausea, decreased appetite or diarrhea, a daily vitamin could help ensure you or your child is getting all of the nutrients you need.
When buying a multivitamin, it is best to choose one that says it is a "complete" multivitamin. Complete multivitamins have minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc, which are important nutrients to monitor in IBD.
Don't like Pills? Try Chewable, Gummy and Liquid Vitamins
If there is trouble swallowing pills, chewable, liquid or gummy forms can be substituted for the hard pill vitamin. For IBD, the liquid or gummy versions may actually be absorbed better which is also a plus. The only downside is that folate (folic acid) is not usually in these forms and will need to be taken in addition to the liquid or gummy multivitamin. It is also important to note that these vitamin forms may have added sugars, synthetic dyes, or artificial flavors so they may not be suitable for all preferences.
Consistency is Key
If your disease is not active and you are able to eat normally, you will likely be able to meet all of your nutrient needs through careful planning and support from your dietician. Remember, you don't have to balance every meal. In fact, it would be very difficult to have every single vitamin and mineral present in every single meal you eat. What matters is that through the day, you meet most of your nutrient needs and throughout the week, you meet all of your nutrient needs. This tactic will keep you healthy and make sure you don't accidentally get too low on a vitamin or mineral. Think of it like brushing your teeth, there's a reason you do it more than once a week!
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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