Pay attention to what you ingest, say researchers at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York.
The researchers set out to find the effect of probiotics on people with celiac disease who often report an higher quality of life due to probiotic supplements intake, yet an exaggeration of celiac disease symptoms as well. These include bloating, cramping or irregular bowel movement.
At the same time, previous studies have shown that people with celiac disease are often users of probiotic supplements. However, this category is prone to experience in increased number of symptoms common to celiac disease than the people who present the same condition, yet do not take in any probiotics.
The research team at CUMC linked the paradox to the increased dosage of gluten found in the majority of probiotics on the market, including in those that are specifically labeled gluten-free. The finding indicates a serious health threat to people with celiac disease due to wrongful and often mischievous labeling.
Dr. Samantha Nazareth presented the findings during the Digestive Disease Week 2015 in Washington D.C..
In short, what the team of researchers is drawing attention to are the effects of gluten on patients with celiac disease. If patients ingest gluten (commonly found in barley, rye, wheat), the immune system is triggered to attack the villi in the small intestines which leads to blocking of absorption of nutrients from food.
22 probiotic supplements labeled gluten-free were analyzed by the researchers. Others were examined as well. Overall, 55 percent of the products came out positive for gluten trace screening.
The FDA has guidelines that probiotics producers should respect. The guidelines suggest that a product must contain less then 20 parts per million of the protein to be labeled as gluten-free.
In the testing conducted by CUMC team, 13 percent of the probiotics claiming to be gluten-free exceeded this threshold. From the second category, another two probiotics were found to exceed the same FDA threshold.
Dr. Samantha Nazareth talked about the motivation of the study:
“We have previously reported that celiac patients who use dietary supplements have more symptoms than non-users, so we decided to test the probiotics for gluten contamination”.
The director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, Dr. Peter H.R. Green, commented on how unfair the situation is for people with celiac disease. Often, they are unaware of what the product contains due to poor labeling or probiotic producers not listing all the components of the supplements.
The findings of the study point a finger at a larger problem. The 33 billion dollar supplement industry is loosely regulated and the FDA is aware that at least two thirds of producers do not fall in line with the guidelines. For profit, they make use of digestive health marketing.
Image Source: medscape.com