One of the reasons why I started this website was to understand more about inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and be able to support people with IBD, especially Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. My brother was diagnosed with the latter only a few years ago (see My Story for details). In fact, over 200,000 Canadians suffer from this very painful and debilitating disease. Therefore, I am a proud supporter of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can vary due to the severity and location of inflammation. Regardless, one of the common symptoms of IBD is nutrient deficiencies which is a result of the damaged intestinal system limiting nutrient absorption. That is why taking quality multivitamin and mineral supplements is highly recommended for individuals with IBD.
Nutrients most commonly deficient in people with IBD are
- Vitamins: A, B12, C, D, E, K, and Folate
- Minerals: Calcium. Copper, Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc
Since nearly almost all food absorption occurs in the small intestine, those with IBD need to take extra precautions to ensure the prevention of malnutrition. Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements can help restore essential nutrients and improve overall health.
Moreover, those with severe damage to the gastro intestinal (GI) track may not be able to absorb B12. In this case, sublingual (under the tongue) tablets or injections may be effective.
Additional antioxidants (such as glutathione) may be beneficial, in order to reduce free radical damage caused by inflammation. Green tea is another good antioxidant that supports digestion. You can either take a green tea supplement or enjoy it as a tasty tea (I prefer the latter way!).
Here are my suggestions for how to choose the right kind of supplement:
- Be sure to choose multivitamins AND minerals (some supplements ONLY contain vitamins and NO minerals)
- Be careful with drug interactions (some multivitamins/minerals may have possible negative interactions with blood thinners, antibiotics, and other medications)
- Choose a form that you are comfortable with (tablets, capsules, soft gels, gummies, or liquid)
- How many times a day do you want to take it? (once, twice, or three times a day)
- Do you need iron? (only if your doctor recommended, otherwise choose NO iron)
- Does the formula fit your needs? (prenatal, children, teen, men, women, activity level, and age)
- Prefer added antioxidants in multivitamins/minerals (easier and less expensive if they are already included)
As I mentioned in my last blog, increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake in your diet is one of the top recommendations for people with IBD. Aside from eating healthy diets, malabsorption diseases (such as celiac and Crohn’s diseases) are factors that increase the need for vitamins and minerals. Hence, including a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement along with antioxidants is very beneficial and an important tip for overall health.
All is well, all the best!
The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Sherry Torkos, BSc Phm 2013
An A-Z Woman’s Guide to Vibrant Health by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, MS 2013