Vitamins needed to help celiacs stave off bone disease

By Assistant professor Diana Mager
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science
University of Alberta

Children with celiac disease need to include certain must-have vitamins in their diets to stave off weak bones and osteoporosis, say researchers at the University of Alberta.

A study of 43 children and teens from three to 18 years of age diagnosed with celiac disease showed that they also tended to have low bone density, likely due to poor intake and absorption of vitamins and minerals. That means they should be getting more of bone-boosting vitamins such as K and D in their diets, says Diana Mager, a professor of agricultural, food and nutritional science at the U of A, and one of the researchers on the project.

“Children with celiac disease are at risk for poor bone health, but by adding vitamins K and D to their diets, it can help reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis,” Mager said.

The study revealed that the children were getting less than 50 per cent of their recommended dietary intake of Vitamin K, and that they also suffered from low levels of Vitamin D, which can be raised through increased exposure to sunlight and by eating fortified dairy products.

Mager also recommends that children with celiac disease include physical activity in their daily routines to build their bone strength and boost their Vitamin D intake by exercising outside.

“Enjoying activities such as walking and running outdoors when there is more sunshine is a great way to contribute to healthy bones,” Mager said.

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