Food Allergens In Medicine And The Dangers Of It

A lot of you may know that Celiac Disease isn't the only type of illness I deal with. I deal with many others such as a rare adrenal disorder and POTS as well. Because of these illnesses I have to take many different types of medication multiple times a day. Most of you probably do not take the type of medication I do since it is obviously for my disorders. However, a lot of you probably do take vitamins and other pain relievers to help with your day to day celiac problems. I do the same and recently I have been getting very sick for a reason I could not explain. I had no clue what was going on and after reading the label of ibuprofen I have been taking, I discovered that it had lactose which I am extremely sensitive too. It led me to wonder what else I've been taking may have gluten or lactose in it and immediately made me feel like I have to share this important topic with you.

What I take:
Taking vitamins to replace what we aren't getting from being gluten-free is something a lot of us are doing. I am as well with many different vitamins I am low in. I personally take Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Iron supplements to help with my deficiencies from Celiac Disease. But some other medicines I take, most of you probably do not. My body does not produce and cortisol whatsoever throughout the day which is substantial to keeping me living. Without cortisol I could not function and without cortisol I would actually die. That's why I have to take hydrocortisone to replace what my body should be producing and is not. My adrenal disorder isn't the only thing I deal with though. For those of you that have been following me, you may know that I recently got diagnosed with POTS as well. Since POTS is a really hard disorder to live with without some medicine to help, I luckily got a beta blocker called nadolol which has made a world of difference with improving my life. These forms of medicine luckily do not have to be worried about for containing gluten or lactose in most situations. However, you should always ask your health care professional before hand because the last thing you want is to be taking medication that is supposed to help you, but in turn is making you sick.

What got me sick:

I don't know about you but I for some reason can never go through a week without getting a headache. It's just something I deal with and something most of us deal with as well. Usually the first thing I would do whenever I get a headache is take ibuprofen to help! (I also broke my toe pretty bad recently so of course I was going to be taking this stuff often) I began to take this ibuprofen multiple times a day in hope that it would help with my headache and help with the pain I was feeling with my toe as well. It did begin to help with the pain in my toe, but then a whole new set of pain started to come along. I began to get awful stomach aches and would continue to get these headaches with really bad hot flashes. My glands would get swollen and all sorts of stuff would begin to happen where I just went down hill. When I go under an illness or some type of stress on my body with my disorder, it usually causes a whole chain reaction of symptoms to go off. I was truly beginning to feel awful and of course day after day I was continuing to take this ibuprofen hoping it would help with some pain. I felt helpless and really had no clue what was making me and both my mom sick too since she had been taking it as well. I randomly decided to check the label of the ibuprofen I had been taking for weeks and it turned out it had the ingredient lactose in it. The thing I had been taking this whole time to make me feel better had actually been the whole cause as to why I was continuing to get worse. This led me to believe that there had to of been many others out there that may be dealing with the same thing but just might not know it.

How serious this is and what you should be aware of:
I know I really don't have to say much because it's obvious how serious this situation is. Many of you could be taking medications or supplements daily and making yourself sick without knowing it. The medication that is supposed to keep us alive and functioning could very well contain an allergen you are allergic too! After doing quite a bit of research through my medicine and online, these are the most common allergens I discovered to be in many medicines.
  • Rice is commonly used in many supplements
  • Gluten is more commonly found in the capsules using gel or a liquid in it
  • Lactose is found commonly in the grocery store brand pills (Publix, Kroger, etc.)
  • Lactose is found in many laxative supplements so be careful
  • Soy can sometimes be used as well as a binding agent
You should always be aware of checking labels for your medications because it's obvious how serious this could be. If you are taking a pain reliever that contains something you cannot have like I was, you could end up making yourself very sick and end up in the hospital. I honestly began to feel like I would have to go to the hospital soon if it kept up which is why I'm glad I checked the labels when I did. Please check the labels of your medications and supplements right now if you are taking any because the last thing I want is for you to end up getting sick like me.

Final thoughts:
When we go gluten-free or begin to avoid an allergy, we generally only think about food! We don't really consider medications because really it's hard to imagine why they would contain these allergens in the first place. The fact is that medications as well as many other products can very easily contain gluten, lactose, or another allergen without us knowing. We must always check the labels of not only our food, but everything we use in our day to day life! Whether it be hair products, toothpaste, and most importantly medication. It is something we have to always be aware of and make part of our day to day life if we want to be healthy. Always read labels and always check with your health care professional about the medication you are taking. You can never be too safe when you have a food allergy and you would be surprised of all the scary places these allergies can hide.

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  1. It is amazing, what is in medicine. My youngest GI doc was giving him a medicine that contained wheat? ummmm? I was the one who discovered it and took him off it. New doctor please :)

  2. I've heard that from a lot more people than you would think! A lot of doctors are just so clueless about gluten in general. That's crazy they tried to give that to your kid but that's good you realized it while you did! It is crazy what is in medicine and scares me sometimes if I don't pay attention.

  3. I was diagnosed with celiac in Sept. 2012. My routine blood tests continued to show some mild levels of gluten exposure and I was still not feeling so hot. I went on a serious elimination diet to see if I missed any gluten exposure in my diet. After I stopped taking Kroger brand generic Ibuprofen I felt 90% better after about 4 days. Was it the Ibu itself or was there gluten in the tablets? My next blood test should help solve the mystery. So nice to have my life back and feel so much better!