As celiacs, we think about the food that we are putting in our mouths every-single-day, but have you ever given thought to the numerous non-food hiding places for gluten? With all of the focus regarding avoiding gluten in foods that you eat, it may be time to consider the possibility that you’re still getting a fair amount of gluten in your diet. That might sound crazy to some people, but the reality is that gluten finds its way into your body through multiple means.

The ingredients in products that you use can also contain traceable amounts of this wheat protein, and if you’re using these products frequently enough, you just may be getting glutened without knowing and not knowing why you are still feeling sick.

In the next few paragraphs you’ll find info on non-food sources of hidden gluten.

Makeup and Other Cosmetics

  • This may come as a terrible shock to some people, but a large portion of makeup and other beauty products are well known for containing gluten. Now, the gluten molecule is entirely too large to be absorbed through the skin, BUT, and this is a big one, the fact that makeup is most likely going to be on your face, that gluten, now has the potential to get into your mouth. Which makes it an issue worth figuring out. And if you have dermatitis herpetiformis, (a chronic, intensely itchy, blistering skin manifestation of gluten-sensitive enteropathy, that affects about 10 percent of people with celiac disease), this could be an even bigger issue. You could possibly go on the company website in order to get more accurate nutrition information, but studies have been showing that this is still an issue that needs to be addressed, and dealt with as swiftly as possible..  Until then, you can simply avoid any products that might cause your body to react.

Your Bathroom Goods

  • When you buy soap, the last thing you’re thinking about is the gluten content of your shampoo. For people who have a strict gluten intolerance, many of them found that there are dozens of products that they would never suspect, have a high amount of gluten hidden in them. Even though many companies will list ingredients, recent laws have made it easier to obfuscate certain ingredients from public knowledge. The only way to be completely sure is to contact the company directly. At that point you can ask if their products contain any gluten, but don’t be surprised if the person on the other end of the line has no idea what you are talking about, or what gluten is. How do I know? I’ve had it happen time and time again.

The Medicines You Take

  • If you have a favorite painkiller that you’re used to using, it might be a good idea for you to check out the ingredient list to see if there is any contamination risk. Many of the most used substitutions have been known to cause lesser reactions due to their proximity to a contaminating factor like open exposed wheat on a cutting floor. The good news, is that drugs are regulated more closely, so you are less likely have a bad experience with a “gluten free” option. It is always a good idea to contact the person at the manufacturer like a sales rep that can give you more specific details about the product. Don’t rely on your pharmacist, because they don’t always know what the inert ingredients are either.

So what do we do?

  • So what is our course of action? How do we force companies to take celiac disease and other forms of gluten intolerance seriously? I’m not certain of a hard and fast line of action, but a good start would be to contact our government representatives. Let them know that this is a serious concern for us.