People with Crohn's and colitis may benefit from taking vitamin and mineral supplements to prevent deficiency, especially if they need to restrict their diet related to their condition, have lost weight or have active gut inflammation or have undergone surgery.

Your HCP may measure specific levels of vitamins and minerals in your blood tests and if they identify deficiencies they may recommend or prescribe specific supplements. Otherwise you may consider takings over-the-counter vitamin/mineral and other supplements.  

Your pharmacist is often a useful source of advice on choosing a supplement that's right for you. Remember, if you eat an unrestricted and healthy diet and your IBD is well controlled or inactive you may not need to take vitamins or mineral supplements. 

Here are some things to consider.

Products include:

Folic Acid/Iron/B12 - These vitamins/minerals are important in making healthy blood and other cells and their absorption can be reduce in people living with Crohn's and colitis , especially those with prior intestinal surgery. Taking one or more of these can be useful to prevent deficiency. If you have B12 deficiency due to problems with absorption you may need to have supplements via injection. Some patients with Crohn's or colitis may not tolerate oral iron as it can cause GI side-effects. They should discuss other ways of replacing iron with their HCP especially if bloods show evidence of anaemia.

Vitamin D/Calcium - Adequate calcium and vitamin d are key for bone health and patients with a restricted diet, using steroids may benefit from supplements to maintain bone health

Magnesium and zinc are important in joint and muscle function and many key body functions. Loss of magnesium may occur related to vomiting, diarrhoea or food poor intake. Oral magnesium supplements can help prevent deficiency but certain magnesium formulations can trigger diarrhoea or worsen diarrhoea (e.g. magnesium aspartate) in which case other forms of oral magnesium may be better tolerated (e.g. magnesium oxide)

Probiotics  - A lot of people living with Crohn's and colitis also have associated irritable bowel syndrome which can cause troublesome symptoms even when gut inflammation is controlled. Probiotics can be useful to help manage these symptoms in some patients

Multivitamins - Fatigue is common in people with Crohn's and colitis and taking a multivitamin can form part of a strategy to help improve this symptom

Useful links for further information about healthy eating, vitamins and minerals

Vitamin / Mineral Reference Intake (RI)

Source: Part A of Annex XIII of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers