The Emerging Role of Nutritional Supplementation in Celiac Disease

By James Lemkin, N.D., C.N.S.

Celiac disease (CD)—also known as gluten intolerance and celiac sprue—is a life-long autoimmune digestive disorder in which there is an abnormal response to gliadin, a protein faction of gluten naturally found in some grains. For those affected, gliadin triggers the body's natural immune response, initiating a damaging inflammatory process in the lining of the small intestine. This limits absorption of nutrients and leads to malnutrition as well as a host of secondary symptoms and conditions. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Most can tolerate rice, soy, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and uncontaminated oats.


Malabsorption is a defining characteristic of gluten intolerance, thus it is not surprising that sub-optimal levels of fat-soluble vitamins D and E, water-soluble vitamins B12, folic acid, and other B vitamins, and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, have been observed in persons with active CD. Usually, as healing progresses, a patient's ability to absorb most nutrients returns. While the only effective treatment for CD is avoidance of gluten, some experts suggest targeted supplementation.


1. Most CD sufferers don't consume an optimal nutrient intake by diet alone.

2. Many with CD don't fully comply with a 100% gluten-free diet (GFD), critical for repair and improved nutrient absorption.

3. An unguided GFD can skew eating choices and may induce nutritional imbalances and other conditions.

4. Nutrient supplementation may speed recovery, providing necessary cofactors for growth and repair.

Pioneer Nutritional Formulas specializes in superior gluten-free products. The entire line undergoes periodic independent testing, verified completely free of gluten/gliadin to the limits of the most sensitive instruments available. Worldwide, the most stringent limit for gluten-free designation in foods and supplements is the Canadian standard of 20 parts/million, which is at least twice the level found in any Pioneer product.

Adapted from article entitled The Emerging Role of Nutritional Supplementation in Celiac Disease by James Lemkin, Licensed Natural Physician and Founder of Pioneer Nutritional Formulas. For a complete copy, call Pioneer at 800-458-8483.