Hidden Gluten: Surprising Things that Contain Gluten

If you are one of many people who have Celiac or a serious gluten allergy, you are probably pretty savvy at knowing what food items contain gluten.  As a matter of fact, in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), developed gluten free labeling standards for food.  These standards stated that food labeled as gluten-free could not contain more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.  However, these standards do not apply to all items that could possibly contain gluten.  Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Medication

When manufacturing a medication (prescription and over the counter), an excipient is used.  This is essentially an ingredient that helps bind the medication together, stabilize it, or bulk it up.  These are also referred to as fillers, bulking agents, or diluents.  Unfortunately, some of these can contain gluten.  Fewer medications at this time contain gluten, but it is important to find out the source of the excipient in order to verify that ingredient is gluten free.  Be aware that even if the name brand of a medication is determined to be gluten-free, it is still possible that the generic is not.

The following list contains ingredients that you need to watch for because they could be sourced from wheat, barley, or rye.

  • Wheat
  • Modified starch (if source is not specified)
  • Pregelatinized starch (if source is not specified)
  • Pregelatinized modified starch (if source is not specified)
  • Dextrates (if source is not specified)
  • Dextrin (if source is not specified; the source is usually corn or potato which is acceptable)
  • Dextrimaltose (when barley malt is used)
  • Caramel coloring (when barley malt is used)

How can you determine if there is gluten in the medication?  I would recommend first calling the medication manufacturer and asking about their procedures and if the medication is gluten free.  Your pharmacist could also be a good source of information in this regard.  There is a silver lining here.  Vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements DO fall under the auspices of the 2013 Gluten free labeling laws.

Here is an amazing resource that is regularly updated:

Gluten Free Drugs

(to be continued)


Coming later this week:  Is my Shampoo making me sick??

© Jessica Rae Faltinowski and The Sweet Gluten Free Life, 2017, authorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessica Rae Faltinowski and The Sweet Gluten Free Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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