As gluten free diets become more popular, more people are aware of what gluten is and where it comes from, but do you know all of the hidden sources of gluten? Some of them may surprise you. For those who have Celiac Disease, not knowing these sources can have serious consequences. I will go over 8 unexpected sources.
1.Binding Agents and Fillers
Usually these are not a problem unless they are ingested. Some common places you would find these fillers are in older stamps and envelopes, newer one use corn based adhesives, toothpastes, and other adhesives. I personally react to the adhesives in bandages, even the latex kind.
2. Body Care Products:
Body care products do not need to label whether they are gluten free or not so outside of reading labels for gluten in the ingredients, here are some other things to watch out for:
Vitamin E – often obtained from wheat germ oil
emulsifiers and stabilizers – can be manufactured from hydrolyzed gluten
Our skin is our largest organ and although the pores are too small to absorb the complete gluten protein, it can cause a reaction on the skin and some people have been know to have a gluten reaction even though it was just on their skin.
“At the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, Prakash and her colleagues presented a case report on a 28-year-old woman with celiac disease who had successfully controlled her symptoms for several years by restricting the amount of gluten in her diet. After starting to use a new body lotion, however, the woman developed an itchy, blistering rash on her arms, as well as abdominal bloating and diarrhea—all of which disappeared once she stopped using the lotion.”
Most cosmetics do not have ingredient labels and so it is anyone's guess as to what they contain. Some may contain fillers and binding agents. One needs to be extra careful of lipsticks as these are ingested by licking our lips. Many contain wheat germ oil and barley extract. To be certain of what is in the product, you will need to contact the manufacturer. In most cases if you ar not highly sensitive to gluten, the amount in the make up is minimal enough to not cause any significant problems. However, in those who are sensitive to gluten below 20 ppm, this may be something you will need to be diligent in nonworking the ingredients of your favorite make up. Here is a resource of where to find gluten free make up and here
Gluten can show up in your medicines as well, usually it is the binders and fillers. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to make sure your medications do not contain gluten.
“Generic brands are more likely to contain traces of gluten”- Alice Bast, executive director of National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
You will also need to look out for maltadextrin and dextrose in cough syrups and cough drops. These may be sourced from products containing gluten.
In natural supplements, especially green food supplements, be wary of wheat grass and barley grass. They technically should be gluten free if they were harvested before the seed heads formed, but if you do not know the harvesting practices of the company, you cannot be sure that they harvested at the correct time. To be safe, I avoid these products, there are plenty of gluten free options out there on the market.
5. Pet Food:
Yes, I know, most people don't eat pet food, but there is always the potential of accidental ingestion and awareness of the fact there may be gluten in your pets food can prevent this. It is simple to prevent, just wash your hands after feeding your pet.
Frequently a gluten containing lubricant is used to lubricate conveyor belts in factories. That is why products that are seemingly gluten free may say they may contain gluten.
8. Latex Gloves:
Latex gloves have a powder inside them to help you slip them on more easily and to help prevent sweat, although I never found that to be of much help when I worked in a lab. That powder can be made from a gluten source. Check with the glove manufacturer, because there are not ingredient lists on gloves.
The all time kid favorite is not gluten free. All name brand playdough is mad with wheat. YOu can make your own at home though. Here are some links to recipes for it:
Call manufactures to find out ingredients, especially if there are none on the packaging.
Wash your hands after you have come into contact with anything containing gluten.
Watch small children who have gluten intolerances. They like to put EVERYTHING in their mouths.