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Vitamin and Mineral Supplements and FODMAPs

Is your multi right for a low FODMAP diet?

How can you tell if your multivitamin with minerals (MVM) is right for a low-FODMAP diet? Should you even be taking one?

First of all, consider waiting until you have worked your way through the elimination phase and all the challenge phases before adding or changing your MVM so you don't interfere with your "experiment". The exception would  stopping any chewable or liquid supplement sweetened with FODMAPs. Do not stop taking anything to treat a documented nutrient deficiency without discussing the situation with the prescribing physician.

Pointers for the ideal product:

Check the "other ingredients" in search of FODMAP sweeteners such as fructose or sorbitol in chewable and liquid products. Fruity "flavors" are OK, but avoid products with dehydrated or concentrated fruits or vegetables. This one looks OK for a low-FODMAP diet.

Check the "other ingredients" in search of FODMAP sweeteners such as fructose or sorbitol in chewable and liquid products. Fruity "flavors" are OK, but avoid products with dehydrated or concentrated fruits or vegetables. This one looks OK for a low-FODMAP diet.

  • No "food" ingredients or other potential allergens such as colors, yeast, gluten, etc.
  •  A capsule with powder inside, a powder, a chewable or a liquid to maximize absorption in case of rapid transit time or damaged absorptive surfaces in the gut--look at products designed for children, too, they are often suitable for adults, as well
  • Little or no calcium or iron to minimize GI side effects (take separately if needed)
  • Not much more than 100% of DV for most nutrients unless treating a specific deficiency (except maybe vitamin B-12)
  • Doesn't cost an arm and a leg
  • Widely available
  • One- or two-a-day dosing for convenience
  • Folate in the form of L-methyl folate; not more than 400 mcg folate
  • Of course, no lactose, fructose or sugar alcohols, particularly in chewable or liquid products where a substantial amount of sweetener may have been added.

I am not going to make specific product recommendations for several reasons. I don't routinely prescribe them for my IBS patients. I recommend you take a "food first" approach and do everything you can to boost your intake of nutrients from food. See IBS--Free at Last! for suggestion. I believe the main reason to take vitamin and mineral supplements is to treat documented nutrient deficiencies; the choice of product to treat that or any other medical problem should be discussed with yourown health care provider, including the risks and benefits of taking supplements. If you can't tolerate an entire food group over a long time period, you might want to discuss supplementation to fill in the gaps with your provider. In any case, I haven't found my "dream" MVM, and I have to settle for hitting as many of the above points as possible when one of clients has to take one.

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