A. More and more parents are trying gluten free diets these days, either because of specificrecommendations for formally diagnosed conditions, such as celiac disease, or as an alternativetreatment for autism, behavioral problems, and other conditions. Gluten is a protein that is found in many
foods, including wheat, barley, and rye. More surprising, gluten is also found in many other products,including vitamins, medications, and according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive andKidney Diseases, stamp and envelope adhesive. Although following a gluten free diet is challengingenough, avoiding gluten in these other products can be even more difficult and can require someresearch by parents and cooperation with your pediatrician, pharmacist, registered dietician, and otherhealth care providers. Some people with a gluten sensitivity have very mild symptoms, but others canget very sick, and can even become malnourished, which makes avoiding gluten very important forthem. Other symptoms of celiac disease, in addition to malnutrition, can include, but arent limited to,gas, recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and changes in behavior, includingirritability. Gluten Free Diet To help avoid gluten, including many grains, pasta, cereals, and otherprocessed foods with gluten, look for and avoid products with the following ingredients on the label:• wheat, including durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, triticale• barley, including malt, malt vinegar, or malt flavoring which can be made from barley • rye Gluten can also be found in some candy, cold cuts, soy sauce, vitamins, herbalsupplements, over the counter medications, and prescription medications. Often overlooked, gluten isalso found in communion wafers, lip balms, and Play Doh. What about oats? The need to avoid oats in agluten free diet is controversial, with some experts saying you should and others saying it isnt necessary.The Celiac Sprue Association states that pure oats may be included as part of a gluten-free diet, but thengoes on to suggest that people on a gluten free diet avoid oats anyway because uncontaminated oatsources are not readily available. Oats can be contaminated if they are processed in the same mill wherethey process wheat. Gluten Free Medications It is easy to understand why gluten is found in many foods,such as bread, pasta, and cereals, since wheat, barley, and rye, are popular grains. But why is gluten inother products and foods? Gluten is used as a filler in these products and in medications, it is often aninactive ingredient. Unfortunately, even when you look at the package insert for the medication, it can behard to know if the drug contains gluten, since it typically wont list gluten or wheat, but will instead list thename of some cryptic filler. The words starch or stabilizer in the inactive ingredients can be clues to thepresence of gluten, in addition to other inactive ingredients. Your pharmacist or the drugs manufacturershould be able to help you figure out if the drug is gluten free too. Fortunately, many common childhoodmedications, including antibiotics, seem to be gluten free. Be aware that some generic medicationshave more than one manufacturer, so in addition to the brand name medication, you have to may haveto make sure the specific generic drug your pharmacist dispenses is also gluten free. Even easier, youcan find many lists of gluten free medications from celiac disease support groups, such as the WheatonGluten Free Support Group. Just because a medication isnt on the list, doesnt mean it isnt gluten freethough. Prevacid, for example, is not on the list. It also has starch as an inactive ingredient, which makesit suspicious for being a medication with gluten, but a call to the manufacturer confirmed that all forms ofPrevacid are in fact gluten free and that the starch is corn starch.