Nutrient Deficiencies in Children with IBD

  • There are a wide array of nutrient deficiencies found in pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients.  Some of which are due to inadequate intake, malabsorption and disease activity.  Insuring healthy meals when your child is not in a flare-up can help to replenish some of the nutrients needed for a healthy gut

    The deficiencies most frequently found are: protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, beta-carotene, magnesium, selenium and zinc.  For many children additional supplementation will be needed to reverse a deficient state. 

    There are a few tricks of the trade to help get the most out of supplements. 

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    • Always take your supplement with a meal to aid in absorption.  
    • Healthy fats are also key in proper absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.  So, be sure your child has a little healthy fat like nut butters, olive oil, flax seeds, sunflower seeds or fatty fish. 
    • If iron is deficient, it can help to take the iron supplement with vitamin C to increase absorption.  A small glass of orange juice can do the trick!  Avoid things with tannins, like tea, that can decrease the ability to absorb iron.
    • Add supplements slowly to prevent added discomfort. 


    A dietitian can be a good resource in planning meals and snacks that are nutritionally complete and that your child will enjoy.  They can also provide further tricks to help your child get the most out of their food and supplements.  I can not stress enough how important it is to get a dietitian on your medical team.

    In the meantime, try this nutrient rich wrap with your child.  Even better: have them help make it.  My kids actually beg for me to put these into their lunch boxes.

    Lunch Time Spinach Wraps

    1-Spinach or Whole Wheat Tortilla
    1/4 Avocado
    1/4c. Shredded carrots
    1/2 c. Spinach Leaves
    1/2 c. Turkey Slices
    1/4c of your child's favorite cheese
    1 tsp Italian dressing (do not use a fat-free dressing)

    Mix the Italian dressing with the mashed avocado.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Spread this mixture on the tortilla.  Layer the rest of the ingredients. Roll up the tortilla burrito style and cut into cute rounds.  Enjoy!

Published On: August 07, 2014