Calcium Deficiency and Celiac Disease.
People with Celiac Disease often have a calcium deficiency because of the poor absorption of calcium by the damaged small intestine. Another factor can be that many people with Celiac Disease, also are lactose intolerant and therefore do not eat sufficient dairy products such as milk, cheese & yogurt. Our bodies require calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also needed for the heart, muscles, and nervous system to function properly. So how do Celiacs get enough calcium?
Milk and dairy products are the best sources of calcium but are not the only ways to get calcium. However if you are lactose intolerant, you may need to find other sources. Canned salmon and sardines are also an excellent source. Eating 3 ounces of canned sardines provides about the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk. Leafy vegetables such as bok choy, spinach, kale, okra and collard greens also contain good amounts of calcium. How about almonds, pistachios or sunflower seeds for a quick snack that is high in calcium? There are also foods available which have calcium added to them such as some orange juice, oatmeal and breakfast cereals.
In addition to getting enough calcium in your diet, you also require vitamin D to absorb the calcium. Our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun as our bodies produce vitamin D from sunlight.The best food source of vitamin D comes from fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils. Milk is fortified with vitamin D and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals often contain added vitamin D, as well as some brands of orange juice, yogurt and margarine. A vitamin D supplement may be required if you are not exposed to much sunshine (less than 1.5 to 2 hours a week).
Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise are important to maintaining healthy bones and using supplements only if necessary to maintain adequate levels. Find recommended daily allowances for calcium at National Institutes of Health in the US or in Canada at Health Canada .