What The Heck? Wednesday #21 (Vitamin Deficiencies)

Vitamin deficiencies are very common with people who are gluten-free. Most people going gluten-free think that it will make them feel better but they forget the vitamins they are taking out of their diet. With this video and post I share what the most common vitamins are you would be deficient in as well as what foods you can eat to get them.

Most common vitamin deficiencies with being gluten-free:

  • Iron 
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D 
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium

Common vitamin deficiency symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Personality changes
  • Unsteady movements
  • Mental confusion or forgetfulness

Where these vitamins are found:
  • Iron - Animal proteins, leafy greens, and beans.
  • Calcium - Dairy products, broccoli, and leafy greens.
  • Vitamin D - Eggs, mushrooms, milk. Often supplements are needed for this.
  • Zinc - Beef, gluten-free whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Vitamin B12 - Fortified gluten-free grains, leafy greens, and some dairy.
  • Magnesium - Leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish.

Have you become vitamin deficient since going gluten-free? Comment below!
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  1. I was already there with gluten.

  2. Thanks, Taylor! this was super helpful! I am pretty sure I am having vitamin deficiency symptoms, such as fatigue, brain fog, etc. I have definitely had low iron in the past, so I'm hoping I can get all these vitamin levels checked soon.

  3. You're welcome! Hope you figure it out! I saw a nutritionist to get mine checked and it made a world of difference.

  4. It was actually my deficiencies that made me finally go gluten free. I'm already dairy free, and refused to add having to go gluten free on top of that for a long time (dumb, I know) even though my doctor suggested it. When I found out how malnourished I was, and the fact that I was still getting sick even though I had cut out dairy entirely, made me realize I really do have a problem and needed to cut out gluten, too. Now, I take my vitamins (when I remember, I won't lie) and am feeling so much better. It's been hard, but with all the resources available now and the amazing support of family and friends, it's getting easier!

  5. Thanks for posting. I consider myself pretty well informed but I never thought of the vitamin aspect of going gluten free. :)

  6. In pretty sure fish, scallops and shrimp are the foods highest in B12. Generally, people who are going gluten free don't have to worry so much about vitamins, unless they are Celiacs, as my hubby is. If he gets glutened he has to worry about vitamins, because his intestines don't absorb well. But, all of the vitamins we need are more hardily found in gluten free foods, such as spinach, berries, almonds, oats, milk and fish.

  7. Diane in NebraskaMarch 16, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    I was so malnourished before my celiac diagnosis that my major systems were shutting down. Doctors originally thought I was in the final stages of some kind of GI cancer, but could find nothing until a brilliant GI doctor suggested they test for celiac. Two months later I no longer have the digestive symptoms but still have the tingling and numbness, brain fog, muscle weakness, on and on. I am severely anemic and my B12 levels don't even register. I'm taking B12 shots, but not one medical practitioner ever suggested vitamin supplements. I am trying to eat the right things, but I'm so deficient it will take months to catch up, especially as my body is still not absorbing as much as it should from the food I eat. Don't know if vitamin supplements will be absorbed any more efficiently until my intestines heal. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get those particular vitamins and minerals into me as quickly as possible.

  8. Anonymous, me too. I was basically malnourished, despite eating a decent diet. My gut wasn't absorbing the nutrients I was ingesting, so I felt like hell.. I basically diagnosed myself and went 100% gf almost 3 years ago. I take supplements as well. nb- check your supplements!!! So many contain hidden gluten.

  9. Thanks Taylor! I have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and also have a B12 deficiency. I take a shot once a month and take supplements too. I have fatigue, balance issues, numbness or tingling in feet (and I was told this was caused by neuropathy caused by chemo in the past) and muscle weakness. Could I have any of these other issues?

  10. Before I found out I was gluten intolerant, I was severely deficient in all kinds of vitamins, once I stopped eating gluten things improved dramatically except that over the years I didn't realize that I wasn't getting my B vitamins and ended up with a burn out and getting really depressed. I went to see a nutritionist, changed my eating habits to eat better foods and eliminate all the garbage processed foods and got on a good variety of vitamins. I have since switched to isagenix vitamins and they are awsome and by far superior to any other, the morning and evening packs take the guess work out of it and I feel better than I ever did and I'm healthy and happy ever since. :)

  11. Often celiac and inability to process grains goes along with a B12 deficiency, but I had some fancy blood tests done that showed that I, like over 10% of the population, had an inability to get the B12 from my food (methyolate=break down the foods properly). There are two forms of B12, and not everyone benefits from the cyanobalamin, the more common form and the one frequently in the B12 shots. The other one, also easily available but frequently overlooked, is the methylcobalamin. I felt great again when I started this different B12!

  12. I needed this too. I have celiacs disease and have been plagued with symptoms after going on a gluten free diet. So thank you again.

  13. It seems to be a "chicken or the egg" issue. The vitamins and minerals listed in this article are easily found in non-gluten sources. (meat, fish, dairy, fruits, veggies and nuts) If you are gf, you need to get your vitamins, minerals and carbs through varied food choices and/or supplements. Exercise caution in the amount of gf breads and pastas. These often contain high calories with low nutrient value.

    I was diagnosed as severe B12 deficient before going gf. I suspect due to my symptoms that the gluten intolerance caused malnutrition issues.

    I have been on a strict gf diet for 2.5 years and only supplement with monthly methyl-B12 injections and I feel better now than I have in many years.