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How do I get enough vitamins if I have a food allergy?

Dee Sandquist
Nutrition & Dietetics

If you have a food allergy, consult a Registered Dietitian who will guide you to include alternate foods to replace the nutrients you are missing in your food allergy food(s). For example, if you have an allergy to wheat, there are an abundance of wheat-free grains such as quinoa, teff, corn and rice. Many alternate forms of foods are now available for foods that cannot be eaten due to food allergies. Many supermarkets will order food by request or you may be able to special order the food through the supermarket if you find a substitute you enjoy.

Even with a food allergy, you can get enough vitamins by eating a well-balanced diet. For example:
  • If you have a milk allergy, you can get calcium by eating canned fish and leafy greens and drinking soy milk.
  • If you have an egg allergy, you can get enough selenium and vitamin B12 from meat and enough folate (the natural form of folic acid) from beans, fruits and leafy greens.
  • If you have a fish allergy, you can get enough niacin and vitamins B6, B12, A and E from meats, grains and beans.
Donna Feldman
Nutrition & Dietetics

Getting enough vitamins when you have a food allergy really depends on what food(s) you're avoiding. A single allergy to something like fish or peanuts isn't going to have a major impact on your food choices. You can still choose from a wide variety of foods, guaranteeing adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.

If you are allergic to a major food, such as wheat or cow's milk, you may have a more difficult time creating a healthy diet. It's not impossible, though. A registered dietitian who is familiar with allergy diets can help you create a list of foods and sample menus that meet your nutritional needs. These days, there are many alternative foods to substitute for wheat or dairy. If your food restrictions put you at risk for any deficiencies, supplements can be recommended.

People with multiple food allergies are at most risk of nutritional deficiencies, and should definitely get help with diet planning. This is especially important for children, since good nutrition is critical for healthy growth. For example, if a person is allergic to eggs, wheat, milk and corn, food choices will be extremely restricted. Intake of calcium, protein, and vitamins and minerals that go along with wheat or corn-contain foods may be affected. In this case, it would be important to find help putting together a plan for diet and supplements.

So, if you just have one relatively simple food allergy, you shouldn't have any problems putting together a balanced diet. If you're dealing with multiple allergies to major food groups, you may need supplements.

If you avoid foods because of food allergies, your diet may be limited in many nutrients such as:
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin
You should take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. You may need an extra calcium supplement. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you are not sure. Check the ingredient list to make sure the supplement does not contain the food allergens.

Continue Learning about Food Allergies & Food Intolerance

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.