Clinical trial: B vitamins improve health in patients with coeliac disease living on a gluten-free diet

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Apr 15;29(8):811-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2009.03945.x. Epub 2008 Jan 20.


Background: Patients with coeliac disease living on a gluten-free diet show vitamin deficiency and reduced subjective health status.

Aim: To study the biochemical and clinical effects of B vitamin supplementation in adults with longstanding coeliac disease.

Methods: In a double blind placebo controlled multicentre trial, 65 coeliac patients (61% women) aged 45-64 years on a strict gluten-free diet for several years were randomized to a daily dose of 0.8 mg folic acid,0.5 mg cyanocobalamin and 3 mg pyridoxine or placebo for 6 months. The outcome measures were psychological general well-being (PGWB) and the plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) level, marker of B vitamin status.

Results: Fifty-seven patients (88%) completed the trial. The tHcy level was baseline median 11.7 micromol/L (7.4-23.0), significantly higher than in matched population controls [10.2 micromol/L (6.7-22.6) (P < 0.01)]. Following vitamin supplementation, tHcy dropped a median of 34% (P < 0.001), accompanied by significant improvement in well-being (P < 0.01), notably Anxiety (P < 0.05) and Depressed Mood (P < 0.05) for patients with poor well-being.

Conclusions: Adults with longstanding coeliac disease taking extra B vitamins for 6 months showed normalized tHcy and significant improvement in general well-being, suggesting that B vitamins should be considered in people advised to follow a gluten-free diet.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Celiac Disease / blood
  • Celiac Disease / psychology
  • Celiac Disease / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Health Status
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyridoxine / therapeutic use*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin B 12 / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use*


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Folic Acid
  • Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B 12