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Just One Milligram of Gluten: Is it Worth the Risk?

Just one milligram. That is truly all it takes. As mentioned by Dr. Thomas O’Bryan in Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance, that is just one sixteenth of the size of a fingernail.

During the lecture caught on camera, Dr. O’Bryan talks about a woman whose intestines were badly damaged by her continued ingestion of gluten and refused to heal, because she was ingesting just one milligram of gluten per day.

And considering the range of symptoms that celiac disease is capable of, ranging from neurological to intestinal, it seems entirely possible that gluten absorbed through the skin may even manifest in ways that are unfamiliar.Ways that to you and I may be harder to pinpoint, harder to associate with gluten. So why then do we risk it?

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Consider the number of personal care products you use in a day. If you sit down to list each one from toothpaste to mascara, you will likely find as many as 20, as few as 10. And if most of those products contain gluten, isn’t is entirely likely that the skin, our largest organ, which is capable of absorbing up to 60% of what is applied to it topically (according to Good Housekeeping Institute) can absorb one milligram?

All of us with gluten sensitivities are held accountable for something of utter importance: our health. And it is the realization of the vast improvement of our health and well being when adhering to a gluten free lifestyle that motivates us. We prepare our own foods, we call restaurants ahead of time, we eat before a party, we share with others our wealth of gluten free knowledge. And manufacturers are responding. That is one of the most exciting things—to see our efforts being realized!

They are even formulating cosmetic products with us in mind, replacing wheat germ derived Vitamin E with that from corn.  Leaving out hydrolyzed wheat proteins—a major ingredient in shampoos and hair products. In a sense, slowly but surely, they too are going gluten free. And perhaps this will help more than just those who are already diagnosed. Perhaps some of the 97% undiagnosed gluten sensitive will notice the influx of gluten free labeling and question their own health and diet. Maybe just by looking out for our own health and families, we truly can help spread the word!

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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