Probiotics Contain Gluten?

Probiotics are a great thing. Right? In some cases, maybe not. I’ve tried taking probiotics several times since the 1990’s. One would think they are a helpful supplement given the latest research on the gut microbiome. One would also believe that they are imperative for someone such as myself, working to heal a leaky gut that contributed to the diagnoses of celiac disease, Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis, and multiple sclerosis.

You’ll think twice after you see this recent article in the New York Times, Many Probiotics Taken for Celiac Disease Contain Gluten. That article has personal relevance as every time I’ve attempted to take probiotics I’ve had stomachaches and severe digestive distress. Of course, I’ve only purchased probiotics at the doctor’s office (or an incredible local shop, Pharmaca). Still, it made no difference. Now I know why. Even high-end probiotic supplements have been found to contain gluten. According to this New York Times article:

The authors of the study found gluten in probiotic supplements that carried “gluten-free” claims on their labels, and they discovered that the most expensive supplements were just as likely to contain gluten as the cheapest products.

According to Dr. Peter H. R. Green, the author of the study and the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, “the results suggest that people with celiac disease, or those avoiding gluten for any reason, should be cautious about taking probiotic supplements.” I’m beyond relieved that I attempt to listen to my body. Because of this, I spared myself a daily dose of gluten, something I work diligently to avoid. What do you do when a doctor, naturopath, or healer advises you to continue taking a supplement or medicine that makes you feel ill?

If you’re looking for a safe delivery method of probiotics, check out my homemade fermented pickles recipe!

Comments

69 responses to “Probiotics Contain Gluten?”

  1. Hi Elana,

    Love the article above how true gluten in probiotics can really make you sick sick. I now only use Andrew Lessman probiotics and all his vitamins are gluten free and I now has no more problems with gluten in any of his products. The site is Pro caps Laboratory. Thank you for all your great information.

  2. Love your website Elana!
    This is a great posting, I would just urge you and others to remember that sometimes an intolerance to probiotics may indicate something like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or other health problem, and may not automatically mean that there is gluten in the probiotic as the cause of your digestive tract’s reaction.
    Either way, ALWAYS listen to your body- it’s usually telling us something important! :)

  3. I’m in a pretty pissy mood this morning. Not only do I have the celiac cranks (fighting thru exhaustion and feeling “off”), but it was just announced that many probiotics that say “gluten-free” on the label actually.

  4. For an alternative to fermented veggies, I suggest trying natto, a fermented soybean product from Japan. If you like stinky cheese, you will love natto! I like to eat it with gluten free tamari, a little toasted soybean oil, spicy chinese mustard and rice. I suggest buying some natto already prepared first (comes frozen in many asian grocery stores), to make sure you like it. If you do, you can buy non-GMO tiny soybeans from Laurasoybeans.com and natto culture from CulturesforHealth.com and make your own.

  5. Why would probiotics contain gluten? Is it the fillers in some pills and liquid supplements? I take rainbow light multi containing probiotics for months without an issue. If you are unsure about the ingredients in supplements there are many foods and drinks that are naturally probiotic!

  6. Contact your supplement companies before taking their probiotics (even going so far as to ask them what their capsules are made from). There are many brands that do not use gluten in their products.

  7. HI all,

    It is shocking how products meant to help some conditions actually aggravate them but I would like to share a product line I have discovered recently that is gluten free certified and I have coeliac friends who have been taking it and feeling great. Another friend who had Crohn’s and had her condition reversed within 2 months of taking the product and myself personally, I had constant mild bloating after a surgery I had 2 years ago and since taking this probiotic, the bloating has gone. It’s really amazing. It is a blend of 15-20 organic grown superfoods that are fermented for 6 weeks with 12 strains of bacteria, including the L. Plantarum (linked to autism). The results is a highly potent formula and you work yourself up to 1 tsp per day, starting with 1/8th tsp so a jar will last a while. This link shows the 3 most popular probiotics they sell https://www.nuferm.com/shop/family-package/. Products are made in Australia and have been formulated by Don Chisholm, who went through a difficult journey with his health years ago and set out to find answers! If any of you try it, please be sure to leave a comment on how you feel. All the best

  8. I have a great protein shake called pure nourish that has probiotics and probiotics in it but is gluten free. I have problems with gluten and I have had great success with this. low glycemic, soyfree, gluten free, no dairy. Its pretty awesome. contact me if you want some. I loved it so much I sell it now.

  9. I got really ill after drinking a Good Belly Probiotic drink. Sigh. Very frustrating to think you are being safe, and helping your body, only to cause yourself damage.

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