Wednesday, August 5, 2015

If You're Celiac or Gluten Intolerant, Should You Use Gluten Free Body Care?

The reason we use organic body care is to take care of the skin, so it’s a good assumption made by many that “what goes on goes in.” Naturally, any substance place on the skin is absorbed by the body into its bloodstream. Hence, using products that contain gluten is a risk to those with Celiac Disease and Intolerance. If the body does not tolerate gluten on the inside, most likely, there’s a good chance that gluten won’t do much good for the body on the outside either. Studies have shown that gluten has been the culprit in causing acne, rosacea, eczema, hives dermatitis herpetiformis, and psoriasis for many with intolerance to this protein. If someone who suffers from any of these and gluten sensitivity, there’s a very good chance the cosmetics, body and hair care products could be the source of the problem.

Personal care products can be challenging when going gluten free. The existence of gluten in cosmetics and organic body care (as well as none organic) products, including lotions and shampoos is backed up by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. And, According to a study by George Washington University, gluten is pervasive in cosmetics, and it is rarely labeled which may cause a threat to those of us with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities. The George Washington University study found that people sensitive to gluten could react negatively to things like wheat germ oil, which is often used to produce naturally-derived Vitamin E, which is commonly found in commercial brand cosmetics and body care. In the United States, the labeling of Cosmetics and Personal Care Products is the responsibility of the FDA. Unfortunately, these products do not have to adhere to the same labeling standards as the foods we eat; even though we are applying them to the largest organ of our body....our skin. Often, those of us with gluten intolerance are accustom to looking for gluten in food, but one should also be aware of the gluten lurking in their cosmetics and toiletries, researchers stated during a national meeting of gastroenterologist in Washington, D.C.

Food labels almost always say whether or not a product contains gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and other grains. But the packaging of body lotions and other beauty products rarely provides that information, even though many such products contain substances derived from grain, says Pia Prakash, M.D., a resident in internal medicine at George Washington University. The Doctor, who helped conduct the research, also stated that lipsticks, powders and foundations are probably the ones they worry about most and one never see ingredient lists on those products. She and her colleagues surveyed the websites of 10 leading makeup companies, Prakash says, and found that "none actually provided any information on products that contained gluten.”

At the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, Prakash and her colleagues presented a case report on a 28-year-old woman with celiac disease who had successfully controlled her symptoms for several years by restricting the amount of gluten in her diet. After starting to use a new body lotion, however, the woman developed an itchy, blistering rash on her arms, as well as abdominal bloating and diarrhea—all of which disappeared once she stopped using the lotion.Pretty much anyone who's sensitive to gluten could experience a similar reaction, says Marie Borum, M.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of medicine at George Washington University. Gluten can't be absorbed through the skin, but people may accidentally ingest small quantities of lotion, lipstick, or other products if they have the product on their hands or use it around their mouth.

There are many doctors and scientist in the US and Internationally would argue against the statement that the skin doesn’t absorb gluten. Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Chiropractor and Certified Clinical Nutritionist is co-founder and co-director, of the renowned HealthNow Medical Center in Sunnyvale California (who’s gluten intolerant), has often chatted about the argument in this arena. From a scientific viewpoint, we are told that the gluten molecule is too big to permeate in our skin, so unless we’re swallowing it, there shouldn't be a problem. Dr. Petersen, states that there are those individuals who have NIGE response to gluten, meaning evening a topical application is going to bother them. These are some individuals who have an immediate reaction to gluten; similar to someone who might eat strawberries and breaks out in hives almost immediately, so it is that kind of immune immediate response, which is quite quick. There are others who don’t have that kind of topically problem, but may use a lotion and get their common gluten response as if they ate gluten. So they didn’t eat it, but they placed it one their skin and had the same reaction. So science is telling us that the gluten molecule is too big, yet people are having reactions and so it might be akin to those of us who are gluten sensitive are told because we don’t have a positive biopsy of our small intestine that shows eradication of our villi, then we’re fine to eat gluten and those experience this all know that’s not the case.

Below is a video of the doctor chatting about this issue: 


Health care providers and consumers’ alike need to be aware of the potential for this type of inadvertent gluten exposure, Borum says. "If you're just focusing on food intake, you may be missing something that's very important and could make a difference in someone's life." So how can celiac patients avoid hidden gluten in organic body care and cosmetics? More companies are starting to make gluten free body care products (stating that they are gluten-free is different from testing to ensure they are by a third-party organization). However, it’s a good idea for consumers to contact manufacturers directly to find out which of their products contain gluten. An informal survey of online forums for celiac patients shows that many companies are forthcoming with this information.

When products do list their ingredients, careful label reading is a must, but simply looking for the word "gluten" isn't sufficient, the researchers say. For instance, the vitamin E found in beauty products may be derived from wheat and contain gluten, even though the label just lists "vitamin E," Borum says. Another way to avoid hidden gluten in body care and cosmetics, is to learn about the many hidden gluten, products that are derived from wheat and contain gluten, similar to what Dr. Borum states about vitamin E. Symptoms for the gluten intolerant varies and it’s important to know and understand you body and what triggers create a problem for you. We believe, it’s significant to ensure that there is no exposure to gluten in any shape or form. For that reason, it’s also important to know which ingredients could indicate that gluten is present in said products. Please that we have created a list outlining the hidden glutens that are commonly found in organic body care (as well as non organic) and cosmetic formulations (we will also give you a list of hidden glutens commonly found in food too) so, how do we move forward to ensure a healthy lifestyle living with gluten intolerance? Educate yourself because knowledge is power. So do your research by starting at the store level, ready your labels. If you are confused by something you read on the label, contact the manufacturer for the details. Be diligent and thorough with your product selections (and dinning out). Investigating for your health! If it looks and sounds suspect, well....... When in doubt, best to use caution when it comes to your wellbeing (make sure that your gluten free body care products are actually gluten free). Lovely Is As Lovely Does.