Vitamins and Supplements for Ulcerative Colitis
If you have IBD you may need vitamins or supplements to help maintain good nutrition. That’s in addition to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Here is an overview of the supplements you may need to take if you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Keep in mind that the best source for nutrients is the food you eat, and that actual deficiencies vary from person to person. So before taking supplements, discuss your nutritional status with your doctor.
Risk of Malnutrition With IBD
One of the primary risk factors for malnourishment with IBD is a decreased intake of food. During flares, there is inflammation of the intestines, or colon, and small sores form on the lining of the intestine and rectum. This causes persistent cramping pain. It can also cause severe diarrhea, sometimes alternating with the formation of hard stool and prolonged constipation.
Certain foods may make symptoms worse. So in addition to the normal loss of appetite that accompanies a flare-up, some people purposely reduce how much they eat in an attempt to ease the symptoms or out of fear of symptoms getting worse.
At the same time, the body has an increased need for additional calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to aid the healing process. Also, the inflammation and diarrhea interfere with the reabsorption of water and minerals that normally occurs in the large intestine, and there is a danger of becoming dehydrated if the fluid is not replaced.