What is Gluten?
Gluten is a word we’ve all been hearing more and more lately, as people are realizing that they react differently and experience certain symptoms after ingesting gluten. Gluten is a protein often found naturally in plants such as wheat, rye, and barley. If you have a gluten sensitivity, it’s recommendedthat you avoid foods that include these ingredients unless they’re labeled “gluten-free.”
People who are gluten-intolerant may choose to switch over to a gluten-free diet, which typically includes foods like beans, fresh meats, fresh eggs, fish,poultry, fruits and vegetables, and most dairy products. In addition, to many people’s surprise, there are some grains and starches that are allowed to be incorporated into a gluten-free diet. Foods such as amaranth, arrowroots, buckwheat, corn, flax, hominy, millet, quinoa, rice, soy, sorghum, and tapioca canbe part of your diet, even if you are avoiding gluten. If you see these ingredients on the label, don’t worry.
Why Gluten-Free Probiotics Might Help with Your Digestion and Health
Switching to a gluten-free diet is a big step, and it takes time to get used to. As with any dietary change, when moving to a gluten-free diet, you may experience a disruption in the balance of your microbiome, which can disturb your digestion. Taking a probiotic supplement may help you maintain digestive balance when making changes to your diet. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you take a gluten-free probiotic.
How to Identify a Gluten-Free Probiotic
To assure your probiotics are gluten-free, it’s vital for you to do some research. At times, it can be difficult to determine whether you’re taking a gluten-free probiotic. Many products available in stores contain gluten, even some vitamins and other supplements. The following steps can help guide you on your path to choosing the right probiotic for a gluten-free diet.
- Read the Labels
Look for a “gluten-free” label printed on the product. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “gluten-free” is a voluntary claim that manufacturers can choose to use on their labels. In order to use this claim, FDA regulations require a gluten limit of fewer than 20 parts per million — that’s the lowest amount of gluten that can be accurately and reliably detected in foods through validated analytical methods. Align meets FDA regulations and is labeled as a gluten-free probiotic.‡
- Know Your Ingredients
Gluten can also be listed as a secondary ingredient used for fillers and binders, which means the product is not a gluten-free probiotic supplement; therefore, carefully reading the labels is a must. For example, you should avoid anything that lists the word “starch” but does not specify the source, since some starches include the protein gluten and manufacturers don’t have to identify the source of the starch. Also, look out for words such as pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, and dextrin or dextrate. Looking for products that have a “gluten-free” label, like Align, is your safest bet when it comes to choosing a gluten-free probiotic.
- Possible Contamination
Gluten can find its way into probiotics through cross-contamination — especially if the same equipment is being used to make other supplements. If cross-contamination is a possibility, some labels include a “may contain” statement. However, be aware that this statement is used voluntarily. If you are still not sure whether the product you want to purchase contains gluten, do not purchase it or check with the manufacturer. Align probiotics have the gluten-free label to confirm there’s no contamination risk during our manufacturing process. Moreover, Align conducts routine analysis and independent lab tests to guarantee that all of its probiotics are gluten-free. An annual test is done to monitor compliance with regulations.
Choosing a Great Gluten-Free Probiotic Supplement
There are many gluten-free probiotics to choose from, but only Align is the #1 doctor and gastroenterologist recommended probiotic brand.‡ It also happens to be the only probiotic containing the unique strain Bifidobacterium35624TM, available in both capsules and chewables. There is also tasty chewable option for kids.
Talk to Your Doctors
Lastly, don’t forget to consult your doctors — all your doctors. Oftentimes, people only discuss gluten-free diets with specific doctors, such as their gastroenterologist, but don’t forget to consult other health care professionals like your dentist and pharmacist. By having a “gluten-free” conversation with all your doctors, you will be more likely to receive consistent recommendations of "gluten-free" therapies. Furthermore, consistently using the same pharmacy will enable pharmacists to help ensure that you do not receive any prescription drugs that contain gluten.