A new study, presented at the Digestive Disease Week in Washington, has revealed that more than half of the probiotics on the market contain traces of gluten. This is of concern to people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease and where products are not labelled properly. The study released by Columbia University Medical Center in New York has determined that gluten free probiotics were actually not gluten free.
Celiac disease is defined as a condition where the immune system attacks the micro-villi of the small intestine. Micro-villi are associated with regulating the digestive system. It is estimated that 83% of the people suffering from celiac disease remain undiagnosed and that approximately 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease.
Celiac disease may have diverse symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue and weight loss. There is no treatment for celiac disease except a gluten free diet. Probiotics are associated with an alternative treatment for celiac disease.
Twelve of the 22 products contained traces of gluten. Four of the brands (18% of the total) contained in excess of that amount. “We have been following reports in the scientific literature and news media on inaccurate labeling of nutritional supplements, and it appears that labels claiming a product is gluten-free are not to be trusted, at least when it comes to probiotics”, said Dr. Peter Green, professor of medicine and director of the Celiac Disease Center. “This is a potential hazard for our patients, and we are concerned.”
“Why is there any gluten in these products? Why should the consumer pay any attention to gluten-free labeling on such products? And given the great consumer interest in probiotics, will regulatory bodies take action to protect the public?”, commented Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl.
Widespread contamination of probiotics with gluten, detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Samantha Nazareth, et al., presented at at the Digestive Disease Week 2015 meeting in Washington, DC, 16 May 2015.