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
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
Water Soluble/Conditional    
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
Fat-Soluble Vitamins    
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.

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