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How to Manage Inadvertent Exposure to Gluten

Category: Dietary Supplements

Millions of people around the world suffer from allergies or intolerance to gluten. To avoid a potentially serious reaction, many of these individuals avoid gluten in their diets, including products that could possibly contain trace amounts of gluten. Despite best efforts, however, gluten can still be accidentally ingested. Gluten is not inherently difficult to digest for those with a healthy digestive system, but those individuals who are gluten intolerant can experience extreme discomfort, with symptoms that typically include a distressed GI tract and may manifest similar to irritable bowel syndrome (which can vary in severity dependent on the amount consumed and sensitivity level), and more severe reactions, such as rashes and nerve pain. Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to help manage these symptoms, along with methods to better prepare the body to handle such occurrences.

Gluten actually consists of several different proteins, with the two main being gliadin and glutenin. Due in part to gliadin’s large peptide chain, gluten proteins can be extremely difficult for some people to digest, hence the term gluten intolerance. Undigested gluten may trigger an immune response in gluten intolerant individuals which, depending on the individual’s sensitivity, can cause the immune system to attack the inner lining of the small intestine. But maintaining a 100% gluten-free diet is extremely difficult. Many different foods contain gluten, and due to the nature of modern food production, it is virtually impossible to guarantee that no cross contamination occurs. These factors mean that accidental or inadvertent exposure to gluten is a very real, and for those with gluten intolerance potentially serious, possibility. However, there are options that offer some protection from accidental gluten exposure.

If a gluten intolerant individual inadvertently ingests gluten, there is no miracle antidote. Because everyone’s body reacts differently, there isn’t a quick fix; yet, by keeping hydrated and taking probiotics and digestive enzymes, it is possible to prevent and/or relieve symptoms. Digestive enzymes and probiotics have shown promising results in helping to better digest gluten proteins. Digestive enzymes target those difficult to digest peptide bonds in gluten proteins by breaking them down, making them easier to digest, while a regular intake of probiotics is essential for a healthy, robust gut that is better able to digest the broken down gluten proteins. Proactive measures such as these can also safeguard against the potential side effects of accidental consumption.

In addition, there are a few natural aids available to help manage intestinal symptoms after gluten ingestion. Drinking green or peppermint tea can ease a churning stomach, and marshmallow root can sooth stomach and gas pain. Studies have also shown that fasting for a couple of days after ingestion may help ‘reset’ your immune system; however, check with your doctor prior to trying this approach.

Even though there is no magic solution to inadvertent gluten exposure, it is possible to prepare your body for the worst. Working with a physician to develop a long-term strategy to rebuild and maintain gut health may include diet changes augmented by supplements, particularly probiotics which are essential for healthy, efficient digestion, and digestive enzymes which are specially formulated to combat those tough to break down peptide chains in gluten proteins. Using these tools to boost your digestive tract can help soften the side effects of exposure for those with gluten intolerance, and help others who simply wish to support their bodies’ natural digestion process.

Glutalytic is an enzyme supplement that goes beyond the traditional DPP IV (dipeptidyl peptidase IV) enzyme, offering superior degradation of the gluten proteins that cause immune responses. This unique proteolytic enzyme blend targets the internal and external peptide bonds that make up the gluten protein, helping to protect in the event of gluten ingestion. To learn more about Glutalytic and how it works, visit


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About The Expert
John Davidson
Director of Education and Innovation, Deerland Enzymes & Probiotics

John Davidson has been formulating enzyme based dietary supplements for more than 30 years, with a particular focus in human digestion. Davidson’s wide range of experience encompasses nearly all aspects of supplement manufacturing; including QC/QA, blending, encapsulation, tableting, research & development, product development and technical services. In his current role as the Director of Education and Innovation for Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes, Davidson is responsible for both new product innovation, collaborating with R&D and Sales to bring new products to market.

John Davidson