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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Most Probiotic Supplements Contain Gluten

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 06/08/2015 - Many people with celiac disease take probiotic supplements to aid with digestion and improve gut health.

    Photo: CC--Ryan SnyderHowever, a new study reveals that many popular probiotics actually contain traces of gluten, which is worrying for people who may have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

    Researchers at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center used a detection technique called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyze 22 popular, high-selling probiotics and measure gluten content. The team found that more than half of them (55%) contained gluten, including products labeled "gluten-free," according to research presented on May 16 at Digestive and Disease Week in Washington DC.

    For reasons doubtless including liability, the team did not list the names of the brands or products they tested. It is safe to assume that these would include major, easily accessible brands.

    These revelations may be unsurprising, given recent reports about gluten contamination in dietary supplements.

    So, if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and take probiotic supplements, be sure to double-check your products; they may contain traces of gluten.


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    What I find confusing with a lot of these supplements is how some will just say "Wheat Free" rather than "Gluten Free" while others will say "Gluten Free" only to have "Made in a facility that also produces wheat products" on the other side of the label.

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    This whole thing has made me so angry. Can you imagine a report saying that many brands of an important supplement for cancer patients contains something dangerous---a toxin, a carcinogen---but not naming the brands. I just can't believe that the brands aren't made public. So unfair. I tried to immediately stop taking the 2 probiotics I take regularly, but immediately had problems so went back on them. There's no way of knowing if they're doing silent damage.

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    Interesting article. I for one cannot take probiotics. Ever time I take a probiotic I inadvertently become sick with all the 'usual' gluten symptoms. I've tried three different brands and all caused a problem. I then consulted my doctor, she prescribed another brand that they use in hospitals (quite costly) sure enough, sick again. So, no more probiotics for me. This is an absolute disgrace.

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    Interesting article. However it says to double check the labels and yet the article states that although they say gluten free studies show some of them contain gluten. So what good does it do to check the labels. One can't believe what they read or what?

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    So if they said gluten free on the label, but tested positive for gluten how am I suppose to "Double-Check" ? If I can't trust the label I don't know how I can find out.

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    Why no mention of either ConsumerLab.com or the 1994 Dietary Health and Supplementation Act, a supplement industry law passed after a Republican takeover of Congress. The 1994 DHSA basically banned the FDA from testing supplements as a routine matter. No private agency has the scope and power to test all dietary supplements. There are groups like the GMP, but these are paid for by industry.

     

    As for the supplements company's desire for a good reputation as a means to keep them honest, how are we to know without widespread, nonprofit testing? Maybe you could tell something if you only took one single supplement every day. But you would only know if the supplement damaged your body. Read the Wikipedia article on Tryptophan to learn about Eosinophlia Myalgia Syndrome, and outbreak that permanently damaged to muscles of at least 1600 people and caused the deaths of others. It was caused by contamination produced in tryptophan supplements by use of a genetically engineered bacteria.

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    The "national" brands are confusing. I take Probulin, developed by a pair of gastroenterologists in Kansas. One of the GI docs wrote the book, "Probiotics for Dummies." Considering this all comes from a couple of docs in Kansas, it probably won't make it to any list of probiotics that are truly gluten-free. Too bad.

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    How do we "double-check your products" when the story said some the ones with gluten were labeled "gluten-free" ?

    I agree. It would be nice if there was a list of the products that contain trace amounts of gluten

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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