Dear Lea…

Dear Lea: What is your view on all the supplements out there on the market to help gluten intolerant people deal with symptoms of being “glutened” like the ones in this article?  –MW.

Dear MW,

I would first like to say that if you have a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, please do not stop eating your gluten free diet. There are currently pharmaceutical investigations and trials that may come up with a medication that will be safe and effective for people with Celiac in the future, but that does not exist now.

If you have gluten sensitivity or discomfort when you eat gluten there are some pills that may help an occasional accidental run in with gluten. None of these types of products are made so that you can eat all the gluten you want but are good for hidden gluten in small amounts.

The reason some people have a reaction to gluten is that we are lacking the enzymes needed to break down gluten proteins in the stomach and small intestine. Even if you follow a GF diet regularly, you can get “glutened” when you eat in restaurants. Many gluten sensitive people take digestive enzymes when dining out even if they order all GF foods.

The best rated enzyme supplements are those that contain the enzyme DPP-IV (Dipeptidyl peptidase-IV), proteases, endo and exo peptidases, and amylase. These are all digestive enzymes which may help in digestion of gluten.

If you can find a product that contains DPP-IV, endo and exo peptidases and pro and prebiotics that would be best. Dr. Tom O’Bryan, an expert in the field of gluten sensitivity, recommends that you eat a serving of fermented food plus probiotics and probiotics each day and a digestive enzyme that digests gluten every meal.

Many of the products also contain lactase and other enzymes that help with lactose digestion.

Remember that although there are many products on the market, at best they may help with post meal symptoms for small amounts of gluten ingestion only. If you’d like to learn about more natural ways to deal with the symptoms of being glutened, you can read our previous blogpost  on it here.


DSC01005Lea Basch is a registered dietitian and has been in the nutrition industry for over 30 years, most of which she spent at Longmont United Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, where she was one of the founders of the facility’s nutrition program. Longmont’s Planetree philosophy of caring for the body, mind and spirit of patients is very much in line with Lea’s interest in both traditional and alternative therapies for treating chronic illnesses. Gluten-intolerant herself, Lea now focuses much of her time on the latest research and issues relating to gluten-free diets and other food intolerances. She is a diabetes educator and is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Lea’s lifelong passion has been combining the science of nutrition with the heart that it takes to change lifelong habits.

Lea received her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida International University and BA in Education at University of Florida. Ask Lea your nutrition questions at

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