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FODMAP Life Blog

3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion

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Since I have a digestive issue, more often than not I am thinking about every bite I take. I often think Will this make me sick?  Will this slow me down?  Will this hinder or help my ability to go to the bathroom?   

All exciting things to think about!  Eating should be a time when you can enjoy, not have anxiety.  Meditation can help ease the nerves and relax the body, but as some of my friends with IBS, IBD and other digestive issues, we are well aware that sometimes we are limited to controlling what happens after we eat or experience stress.

fodmap life vitamins 2There are many things you can do to prevent from feeling sick or having an accident like following the Low FODMAP diet, meditating, and practicing mindful eating.  More importantly, you can help your body by supporting it with essential vitamins.

Your digestive system is one of the largest group of organs in your body.  These organs derive energy from the food you eat and allow your body to absorb essential nutrients and help eliminate waste products that you don’t need. Like they say “you are what you eat” so it’s important to help protect your digestive system with these vitamins:

Vitamin D

If you live in an area of the world where you cannot get at least fifteen minutes of sunshine everyday, if you are obese or have digestive troubles, you might be deficient in vitamin D (people who are obese {have a BMI of 30 or greater} may have lower levels of vitamin D because fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood. Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD).

I have mentioned before in my blog that after a few blood tests my doctor determined I was deficient in vitamin D.   Some gastrointestinal diseases can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from foods, so if you haven’t done so already, ask your doctor for a blood test.  I have read from a few doctors that vitamin D deficiency was almost always the case with their gastro patients.

So what does Vitamin D do for your digestion?

Having enough vitamin D in the body can support healthy digestion. A large network of nerves send signals within your digestive tract to regulate your digestion. Remember growing up and knowing calcium was really important for your bones?  Well its also important along with vitamin D and digestion because the nerves in your digestive tract rely on calcium to transmit signals.  If there is a loss of calcium, a breakdown occurs when your nerves try to communicate.  Vitamin D regulates the levels of calcium in your system, giving your nerve cells the calcium they need to function.

Where Can You Get Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods, but you can find it in cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, mackerel and eggs (also milk, yogurt, margarine and cheese for those who are not lactose intolerant).  The other way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is by taking a daily supplement.

VITAMIN B12 SCRIPPSVitamin B

All the B vitamins which are collectively referred to as vitamin B complex are essential for digestion.  These vitamins aid in the process of digestion and play different roles in helping the body digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins may lead to digestive problems with rather unpleasant symptoms and can even affect the absorption of other nutrients. 

So What Does Vitamin B do for your digestion?

The role of B vitamins are mainly to get energy from the food you eat and send it into your cells.  B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they cannot be stored away in fat cells to use later; so they need to be a regular part of your diet!

Where Can You Get Vitamin B?

Vitamin B foods for the Low FODMAP diet can be found in whole grains (quinoa, rice), seafood, eggs, leafy green veggies and dairy products for those not intolerant to lactose. Through my holistic nutrition school and from reading several sources over the years, I have learned that most people do not get enough vitamin B in their diet.  So aside from eating the foods above, it would be wise to take a daily multivitamin with B supplements!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is the cleansing vitamin and helps stimulate immune functions.   Vitamin C is water soluble so it can’t be stored in our bodies.  That means that any excess present in our blood is released through our urine.

So what does Vitamin C do for your digestion?

Vitamin C is important for digestion as it helps the body to absorb iron and it also helps your body to make enough collagen. You have heard of collagen before in beauty and cosmetic commercials when brands describe how products “boost” collagen for better looking skin.  Collagen is also important  for your digestive system as it helps hold your tissues together within your fragile digestive tract.   Your body needs to makes new collagen molecules in order to keep your tissues strong.  New collagen production is essential to help heal tissue damage.

Where Can You Get Vitamin C?

If (like me) you love fruits and veggies you are in luck as many do contain vitamin C.  Strawberries and red peppers are low in FODMAPs and among the foods highest in natural vitamin C.  Other low FODMAP sources include: cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, oranges and other citrus fruits.

If you are currently not taking any vitamins and you suffer from digestive problems like me, I definitely suggest having blood tests administered to see where you may be deficient.  I also suggest working along with a Holistic Health Practitioner, as holistic medicine focuses on the whole person – to find balance in your body, mind, spirit, and emotions.  I believe this type of care is the best for people with digestive and inflammatory issues.  

Sources:

 

6 Comments

  1. theadventuresofzandk

    “…more often than not I am thinking about every bite I take.” Yes! Story of my life. I miss the days when eating was a source of enjoyment and not anxiety. Working with a dietitian now. Hoping I can get back to that place someday.

      • theadventuresofzandk

        I just started with her a couple of weeks ago. Right now the focus is on healing my gut. This means no gluten or dairy, limiting fruit to 1/2c at a time, limiting nuts to 1T/day, cooked low fodmap veggies only (nothing raw), and lots and lots of protein. Also adding in collagen and probiotic supplements. Whew. That’s a lot. But so far it’s going well. Happy to have a plan of attack and someone to help me through all this.

  2. Denise H

    I, too struggle with many high FODMAP foods & have felt very run down on this restrictive diet. Ugh.

    • Colleen

      It’s so important to make sure your body has enough nutrients because its already rundown or working overtime. I know it feels like a lot of work but you will get there!

  3. How to Start the Low FODMAP Diet | FODMAP Life

    […] 4. Timing is everything so get testing done as soon as possible.  I had to wait weeks for mine to be scheduled.  So as you’ve begun to avoid all FODMAPs, go and see a gastroenterologist and ask for blood and breath tests.  Hydrogen breath tests can help you to determine if you are fructose and/or lactose intolerant (malabsorption), have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome (SIBO) or rapid passage of food through the small intestine.  Blood tests can help you determine if you need to avoid gluten.  These types of tests though have not all been extremely efficient, so in some cases, by keeping an ongoing food and activity journal you might get a better sense of the real food and stress triggers.  If you are used to getting your Vitamin D from milk products, you may want to introduce Vitamin D2 and D3 vitamins into your diet.  Consult with your doctor to ensure you are not or do not become Vitamin D deficient.  Learn more about the 3 Essential Vitamins for Digestion. […]

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