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!


69 responses to “Probiotics Contain Gluten?”

  1. My favorite probiotic is homemade 24 hour SCD yogurt. When fermented 24 hours, the lactose is gone, and the live culture count is quite high. I highly recommend it if you aren’t avoiding dairy!

  2. I agree with Elana. Why to take something that makes me feel sick. I prefer to listen to my body. In case that any of you have sensitivities/intolerances/allergies to dairy and other grains including rice (as I do), you may want to know that I found out, by calling some companies myself, that most dairy free probiotics are actually made from rice, but this is not listed in the labels! I am allergic to rice, and so is my son… We are both celiac too. It slows me down worse than wheat and it makes me even more tired and so sleepy, plus give me pain like arthritis and sinus problems… My son gets horrible rashes and bad colds instantly, just like wheat and oats for him :( Perma Clear by Thorne is a dairy free probiotic made from shellfish for leaky gut, that also contains L-glutamine and ginger. I take Prescript Assist, which is soil based, and it does not need to be refrigerated :) Some supplements use rice as a drying agent, against humidity. By the way, Elena I love your blog! I hope and pray that you are doing well <3

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