Finding out that so many of probiotics currently contain traces of gluten is of serious concern to people wishing to avoid gluten in food products, for example those with celiac disease. Too bad the researchers didn't publish the brands.From Science Daily:
More than half of popular probiotics contain traces of gluten, according to an analysis. Tests on 22 top-selling probiotics revealed that 12 of them (or 55%) had detectable gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and patients with celiac disease need to eliminate it from their diet or face pain, bowel symptoms, and an increased risk of cancer.
Probiotics are commonly taken by patients for their theoretical effect in promoting gut health, though evidence of benefits is limited to a few clinical situations. "Many patients with celiac disease take dietary supplements, and probiotics are particularly popular," said Dr. Samantha Nazareth, a gastroenterologist at CUMC and the first author 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," said Dr. Nazareth.
Most of the probiotics that tested positive for gluten contained less than 20 parts per million of the protein, and would be considered gluten-free by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards. However, four of the brands (18% of the total) contained in excess of that amount.
More than half of the 22 probiotics were labeled gluten-free, but this had no bearing on whether or not traces of gluten were present. Two probiotics that did not meet FDA standards carried the label.It is uncertain whether these trace amounts of gluten could cause symptoms or otherwise harm patients with celiac disease.