For people with celiac disease who are wondering if probiotics would help with the intestinal discomforts associated with the disease, the good news is that probiotics can be beneficial. However there are enough dangers of probiotic supplements for people with celiac disease to be wary of them.
One study in Finland, reported by the National Institutes of Health
, concluded that certain strains of probiotics could be protective against the intestinal damage caused by celiac disease. Some probiotic strains found in this study to be effective against the toxic effects of gluten are Lactobacillus fermentum and Bifidobacterium lactis.
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However, while more research is being done to find what possible benefits of probiotics exist for celiac disease sufferers, there is a significant and dangerous problem with probiotics supplements for those with celiac disease: the presence of gluten.
The New York Times reported that many probiotic supplements
were found to contain gluten, even those claiming to be gluten-free.
Dr. Peter H. R. Green, the director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, told the Times that probiotics that meet FDA standards to be called gluten-free do not account for an individual’s gluten tolerance or the accumulated threat of regular doses of probiotics supplements.
“If the level in a capsule is 19.8 parts per million it can qualify as gluten-free. But if people are taking a lot of this product, they’ll get cumulative amounts of gluten that will cause them damage,” Green said.
For celiac disease patients who worry about hidden gluten in their supplements, there are foods that can provide probiotic nutrients.
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Dr. Rachel Begun, a member of the Scientific/Medical Advisory Council for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, recommends
dietary sources of probiotics that include cultured milk products like yogurt and kefir; pickled fermented vegetables, such as kimchi and sauerkraut; and fermented soy products, including tempeh, miso, and natto.
People with celiac disease also should look into adding prebiotic foods to their diets because they feed the probiotics already present in the gut.
Arizona Digestive Health recommends
these foods as part of a gluten-free diet:
• Jerusalem artichokes
• chicory root
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