Should I take a multivitamin?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: Should I take a multivitamin if I am on a gluten-free diet?

Answer


Many people on the gluten-free (GF) diet are recommended to take a GF multivitamin. You should ask your doctor or dietitian if they recommend you to take a multivitamin, or need any other vitamins or minerals based on your labs. Ideally, you want nutrients to come from foods first, but that is not always possible, especially for those with malabsorption and deficiencies, in those cases taking a multivitamin or other vitamin and mineral supplements can be a good option. The most common nutrient deficiencies associated with celiac disease are B6, B12, folate, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. In addition, the gluten-free diet tends to be low in certain vitamin and minerals such as:

    • B vitamins

    • Calcium

    • Magnesium

    • Iron

    • Zinc

Also, many GF foods are not fortified or enriched with iron, folate, or other vitamins like their gluten-containing counterparts.

Important Notes:

  • Make sure the multivitamin is labeled GF! Gluten/gluten ingredients are sometimes used as binders or fillers in supplements, so always check the label and choose those that are labeled GF. Products labeled GF are required to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten per FDA regulations, which has been deemed a safe concentration for those with celiac disease.
  • Choose a multivitamin based on age and gender. For instance, women of childbearing age have a higher need for iron and folate.
  • Be careful with multivitamins that contain nutrients much higher than 100% Daily Value. Some vitamins, like B6 can be toxic in high amounts.
  • Keep in mind that gummy vitamins usually do not contain any iron.
  • Also, most multivitamin and minerals do not contain enough calcium and magnesium.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional if it is ok for you to take a supplement.
  • A general recommendation is to have a varied diet that focuses on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, dairy or dairy alternatives, meat, fish, eggs, GF whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds and healthy oils such as avocado and olive oil. Choose fortified or enriched GF products for those times you have processed GF baked goods and pasta.

Read more about how to research supplements here:  https://nationalceliac.org/celiac-disease-questions/checking-if-supplements-are-gluten-free/

Reviewed October 21, 2022.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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