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Beware – not all probiotics are healthy in nature, says study

Check whether your probiotic drink is loaded with gluten or free of it, before you have one!

Do you believe that probiotics are good for your health? If yes, you might be wrong, says a new study. According to the study presented at Digestive and Disease Week in Washington DC more than half of popular probiotics contain traces of gluten. Probiotics are commonly taken by patients for their reported effect in promoting gut health. (Read: Are probiotics good for our health?)

What is gluten is it harmful?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and patients with celiac disease need to eliminate it from their diet or face pain, bowel symptoms and an increased risk of cancer.

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Many patients with celiac disease take dietary supplements and probiotics are particularly popular, said Samantha Nazareth, gastroenterologist at CUMC and the first author of the study.

We know that most patients with celiac disease only develop intestinal damage when consuming more than 10 milligrams of gluten daily. Still, these findings raise troubling questions," said study co-author Benjamin Lebwohl from CUMC. (Read: 5 reasons to eliminate gluten from your diet)

What did the study reveal?

Tests on 22 top-selling probiotics done by investigators at the Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC) revealed that 12 of them (or 55 percent) had detectable gluten. We have previously reported that celiac patients who use dietary supplements have more symptoms than non-users, so we decided to test the probiotics for gluten contamination, Nazareth said. (Read: Natural ways to add probiotics to your diet)

Most of the probiotics that tested positive for gluten contained less than 20 parts per million of the protein, and would be considered gluten-free by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards. However, four of the brands (18 percent of the total) contained in excess of that amount. More than half of the 22 probiotics were labelled gluten-free but this had no bearing on whether or not traces of gluten were present. Two probiotics that did not meet FDA standards carried the label.

Source: IANS

Image Source: Getty Images


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