Should you worry if there's gluten in the products you're using?
For many of us it probably doesn’t matter if there’s gluten in our moisturiser or shampoo but for people with Coeliac disease or a heightened sensitivity to gluten it could make a lot of difference.
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is a condition affecting the intestines that is often triggered by intolerance to gluten. Its symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. Coeliac disease affects the healthy function of the tiny, finger-like structures called villi, which line the inside of the intestines and help break down and absorb the nutrients contained in your food.
How does gluten affect people with coeliacs?
Gluten is a form of protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye and can react with the villi in small intestine lining, causing them to become inflamed and affecting their ability to absorb nutrients. The usual treatment is a gluten-free diet, however many people overlook other possible sources of gluten that may be present in their homes and which come into regular contact with their skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ and being porous, it can absorb some of the chemicals applied to it.
Common household items that may contain gluten:
- Lipstick and lip balm
- Certain medications and antibiotics
- Adhesives on stamps and envelopes
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Soap and shampoo
Tips to avoid cross-contamination when you’re following a strict gluten-free diet:
- Use different utensils and cookware for foods containing gluten
- Avoid oats – they can often be contaminated with gluten from wheat products, due to being grown in close proximity and processed using the same equipment
- Keep processed foods to a minimum. Some processed foods can be contaminated with gluten due to being processed on the same lines as foods containing gluten
- Read the labels on your skin and body care products, if unsure ask the company concerned whether their products contain gluten.
If you’ve had any experience or luck trying to find gluten-free products, we’d love to hear about it, please tell us your story in the comments field below.