THE VITAMINS YOU NEED IF YOU HAVE CROHN'S OR COLITIS
Vitamins are low in IBD
Everyone needs their vitamins if they are going to stay healthy; however, they are particularly important for someone with IBD. Repeated studies have shown that the blood levels of certain vitamins can be low in IBD.
Vitamins of concern in IBD
- Folate can be low for someone on methotrexate or sulfasalazine
- Vitamin B12 is absorbed where Crohn's disease is most active (small intestine)
- Vitamin D has an important function in the immune system and on bones
Why are some vitamins low in IBD?
Low vitamin levels in IBD are usually caused by poor absorption. For example, inflammation of the small intestine reduces the body's ability to absorb most nutrients. Additionally, certain IBD medications can also interfere with normal absorption.
Vitamin levels could also be low from a lack of focus on the role of nutrition in IBD. Proper nutrition can help those with IBD feel better and get good sources of vitamins in their diet. However, even people who are eating a well-balanced diet may need to take individual vitamin supplements, or a multivitamin. Always talk to your doctor about which supplements, if any, you may need to stay healthy.
The Vitamins Everyone Needs to Stay Healthy
The table below shows the vitamins that everyone needs, what they do, and where to get them. They are separated into the vitamins that are absorbed along with fat (fat soluble vitamins); the ones that are easily absorbed and passed in the urine if the body has enough (water soluble); and those that are only needed in certain situations (conditional vitamins).
|Water Soluble/Required||Importance||Good Sources|
|Thiamine (B1)||Carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, nerve and muscle membranes||Grains, nuts, potatoes|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Energy use, cell respiration and repair||Dairy, meats, green vegetables, eggs, yeast|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||Enzyme activation and cofactor||Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes|
|Cyanocobalamin (B12)||Formation of genetic code, amino and fatty acid metabolism, blood cell and nerve development||Meats, eggs, milk products, fortified cereals|
|Folate||Formation of genetic code, utilization of protein||Green vegetables, nuts, liver|
|Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)||Collagen formation/wound healing, immunity||Fruits, vegetables, potatoes|
|Niacin (B3) need when prolonged diarrhea||Protein and energy utilization||Grains, poultry, fish|
|Choline Usually can be manufactured||Cell transport signaling and integrating||Milk, eggs, liver, peanuts|
|Biotin (B7) needed when tube feedings, excess egg whites||Energy metabolism activation of folate||Intestinal bacteria, organ meats, yeast, soy, nuts, cereals, bananas|
|Pantothenic acid Usually can be manufactured||Fat metabolism||Meats, whole grains, legumes, vegetables|
|Vitamin A||Vision, skin integrity, gene expression||Fruits, vegetables, fortified milk, fish oils|
|Vitamin D||Calcium and phosphorus absorption, role in immune regulation||Sun, Fish, eggs, fortified milk products|
|Vitamin E||Cell membrane stability, antioxidant||Fruits, vegetables, meats, oils|
|Vitamin K||Clotting||Intestinal bacteria, meats, green vegetables, chia seeds, prunes|
The amount of these vitamins in the foods you often eat is listed in our table on nutritional content. Normally, the amount is listed on nutrition labels using a 2000 calorie diet as the standard. But your needs may be quite different. If you put in your age and gender, the table will recalculate the amount based on how much you need.
This article, as well as all others, was reviewed and edited by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.
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