Children with celiac disease need to be regularly evaluated on their vitamin A and D levels
06/20/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Children with celiac disease need to have their vitamin A and D levels regularly evaluated as researchers discovered that they are more likely to be deficient in these vitamins, according to a new study.

In the study, published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, a team of researchers at the Adnan Menderes University in Turkey looked at the fat-soluble vitamin deficiency in children diagnosed with celiac disease. In conducting the study, the research team recruited 102 study participants who were between nine and 13 years old and weighed between 16.2 kilograms (kg) and 22.5 kg. Among the participants, 52 were diagnosed with celiac disease, while 50 study participants did not have the condition.

The research team evaluated the fat-soluble vitamin levels and intestinal biopsies of the participants. They then compared vitamin levels in the study participants with celiac disease and those in healthy study participants.

The team saw that the common symptoms among celiac disease patients were growth retardation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, with delayed growth being the most common. When the researchers compared vitamin levels between the two groups, they found that the vitamin A and D levels of the celiac disease patients were significantly lower than those of the control group. As a matter of fact, 17 of the celiac disease patients were deficient in vitamin A, while 32 of them were deficient in vitamin D. In the control group, only two were deficient of vitamin D, while their levels of other vitamins were deemed normal.

The findings of the research support earlier studies which discovered that the most common symptoms of celiac disease are mostly due to abnormal nutrient absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, often resulting in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.


The research team concluded that low levels of vitamins A and D are linked to celiac disease in children. Therefore, they suggested that celiac disease patients should get their vitamin A and D levels checked.

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, there are steps you can take to improve your quality of life despite the adverse effects of the disease.

Consequences of vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies

Vitamins are important for a well-functioning body. Thus, having a vitamin deficiency can cause severe consequences. Vitamin A deficiency is the main cause of preventable blindness in children. It also leads to a greater risk of disease and death from severe infections. People who lack vitamin A are also at a greater risk of delayed growth and bone development, infertility, miscarriage, dry skin, dry hair, and itching.

Since vitamin A cannot be produced by the body, it can only be obtained through diet. For people who are intolerant of gluten, vitamin A deficiency can be treated by incorporating naturally gluten-free vitamin A-rich foods in their diet or taking vitamin A supplements. Foods rich in vitamin A include beef, carrots, chicken, eggs, fortified milk, leafy green vegetables, liver, mangoes, and sweet potatoes.

On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency can result in bone density loss, which in turn, can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures. Severe deficiency of the vitamin can also result in other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets, a rare disease that causes the bones to soften and bend. In adults, it can result in osteomalacia, which causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness. One of the ways to get vitamin D naturally is through sunlight exposure as the body naturally produces vitamin D after the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, not everyone gets enough sun exposure and being exposed to the sun for too long can result in skin aging and skin cancer. Therefore, many people try to get their vitamin D from food and supplements. Some foods that naturally contain vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks.

Read more news stories and studies on vitamin deficiency by going to

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