Monday, May 20, 2013

Supplements And Vitamins For Gastroparesis

Supplements And Vitamins For Gastroparesis

While the treatments for gastroparesis (GP) may vary, given that it is an affliction that affects digestion, any sufferer is recommended to modify his or her diet to reduce symptoms. 

Because of certain limitations and restrictions, there is a strong chance that people with gastroparesis may have some deficiencies in crucial vitamins and minerals. Not only does your body lose nutrients by avoiding certain food types, the inefficient digestion that defines GP will, in turn, filter the absorption of chemicals your body needs to operate.  

As a result, it’s recommended that those afflicted with this condition should bolster their diet with GP supplements that counterbalance necessary dietary taboos.  While you should take all of the following, it’s important to remember that different companies offer wildly varying potencies and in a number of different forms that you may or may not like.

Introduce each of the following into your regimen one at a time—to keep track of individual reactions—and start off with a limited dose.

Vitamin B12

Your body requires B12 to maintain the central nervous system and energy.  Unfortunately, the most common sources for B12 are animal products, which many GP diets are low in. Furthermore, if you’re taking acid-suppressing additives, such as H-2 blockers or Metformin, the B12 that comes with your diet will not be properly assimilated.

Your doctor can tell you if your vitamin B12 levels are low, but reliable indicators are fatigue, heart palpitations, bleeding mouth and gums, lack of appetite lightheadedness, diarrhea and overall weakness. As B12 tablets have a strong taste that’s aversive to some, you might consider administering it through intramuscular injections.

Vitamin D

Gastroparesis is one of many diseases that often lead to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is needed for a reliable immune system, therefore, this deficiency will likely result in excessive sickness. Furthermore, as D is crucial in absorbing calcium, a lack can lead to poor bone and skin health.

To know if your intake of vitamin D is sufficient, a 25-hydroxy blood test is recommended.  If you need to boost your levels, look for a source with vitamin D3, since the commonly found D2 is not absorbed as well, especially by those with GP. Additionally, make sure you take the D3 supplement with some source of fat, since vitamin D is strictly fat soluble.

Omega-3 acids

A famous “brain-food,” omega-3s are necessary for our minds to work at their full potential. Unlike some nutrients, they cannot be synthesized through other sources. A lack of omega-3s might be marked by dry hair and skin and hydration problems (thirst, excessive urination).

If your supplement comes from fish sources, make sure your supplements have been refined of toxins such as mercury. It might be easier to digest vegetarian sources if you have GP; however, be especially careful with your dosage (2 grams will probably be enough).


For regular functioning of the nervous system, muscles and the cardiovascular system, this mineral is absolutely essential. As it’s also a laxative, the GP-afflicted should make sure not to avoid it. Symptoms of low magnesium include sleeplessness and anxiety, muscle cramping and an irregular pulse. 

Magnesium will present special absorption hurdles for those suffering from GP; don’t use magnesium oxide as a source: magnesium citrate is more easily assimilated. Because of magnesium’s laxative properties, modulate your dose (and take in conjunction with calcium) should your stools become too loose or you become constipated.

Anyone should check with his or her doctor when dramatically modifying their diet, but for those with gastroparesis, extra care and consultation should be taken. With just a little experimentation with dosages and formats, you should be able to counteract the nutritional drawbacks that come with GP.

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in health and wellness. She covers everything from alternative medicine and sustainability to fitness and skincare. In order to keep performing at her best, both mentally and physically, she is sure to take the necessary vitamins that her body needs each day.