Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease of the digestive system. The ingestion of gluten triggers the immune system to destroy the villi of the small intestines. Nutrients are not absorbed by the bloodstream resulting in malnourishment. The occurrence of hyperhomocysteinemia is significantly higher in newly-diagnosed celiac patients and improvement has been reported after beginning a gluten-free diet. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a blood disorder characterized by abnormal levels of homocysteinemia, which is an amino acid. High levels increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. An article in the February 2009 issue of World Journal of Gastroenterology reported the findings of adding a dietary supplement of vitamin B to the diets of celiac patients.
Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 have the greatest effect on lowering homocysteine levels. They help breakdown homocysteine in the blood. In the reported study, 51 adults with celiac disease and 50 healthy adults were tested to evaluate their blood levels for homocysteine, folate, vitamins B6 and vitamin B12. About half of the celiac patients reported taking a daily vitamin supplement containing vitamins B6 and B12 and folate. The control group members did not take a daily vitamin supplement. The celiac patients were evaluated to see if the degree of villi damage had an affect on the protective role of vitamin B supplements against hyperhomocysteinemia.
Final analysis showed that among the celiac patients, those who took a vitamin B supplement had lower homocysteine levels than patients who did not take a vitamin B supplement. It was also found that with the presence of villi damage, vitamin B supplements kept homocysteine, vitamins B6 and B 12, and folate levels normal.
Muhammed Hadithi, MD, lead researcher proposed the usefulness of a future study that includes newly-diagnosed celiac patients and compares the use of vitamin B supplements with a gluten-free diet to a gluten-free diet alone.
Article source: www.medscape.com
World Journal of Gastroenterology, February 2009 volume 5 issue 8