Pregelatinized Starch NF ? Does the Medicine You Take Contain Gluten?

January 26th, 2010 by Jean Duane

It is hard to describe the FRUSTRATION one has when following a strict diet, with care and thought given to virtually every mouthful of food consumed, only to wake up with a reaction ? and knowing it will get worse before it gets better. Yep, the same reaction as ?before? is back again. It means somewhere in my diet, and likely over a period of time, I am inadvertently consuming gluten. But in what?
Several months ago, I began an experiment and cut ALL GRAINS from my diet, even the gluten-free kind. I wanted to cleanse once and for all and by cutting out all grains, I can add back one gluten-free grain at a time (eat a mouthful of a cooked grain and wait 2 weeks to see what happens). By doing this, I can rule in or out once and for all, gluten-free oats and other high-protein gluten-free grains that I think may cause me problems.
Here?s the really perplexing part? I?m still in the ?no grain? part of this experiment, and am having a reaction similar those when I was consuming gluten! I made a list of anything new I have eaten in the past few months. I?ve called manufacturers and stores to ask if they changed their recipes and if their product could contain gluten ? even things I?ve eaten a while and considered safe. I?ve re-read the labels on all of the cosmetics, shampoo, body washes and every other product that touches my skin. Couldn?t find anything. Until?

Do any of these contain gluten?

Do any of these contain gluten?

I started taking a prescription in August. I recently ?stepped up? the dose. I never checked the ingredients in the medicine. I just didn?t think to. (I knew better?my bad.) Anyway, the medicine contains Pregelatinized Starch NF. Turns out that Pregelatinized Starch NF can be made from corn, potato or wheat. Pregelatinized Starch NF is a “inactive ingredient” binder used in medicine to hold the pill together. I am pretty sure based on this reaction that the pills I have were made with wheat. This medicine may be the root cause of my reaction.
Uncovering this was a big endeavor. First, I had to remember that pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medicine could use gluten-containing binders. Then I had to go to the pharmacy to ask for the ?med sheet? because the information online about this drug didn?t contain a listing of ?inactive ingredients?. Then, I had to go back home and look up every ingredient online to see if it contained gluten. Really, food intolerances should have a prerequisite of ?research skills?.
From time to time, I receive emails from people having reactions who are conscientiously follow the gluten-free and often dairy-free or GFCF diet and are desperate for ideas about what could be causing it. If you have a reaction and you’ve been good about the diet, look in your medicine cabinet — at your cosmetics and re-read labels of any processed foods you eat.
It also goes to show that even after years, we must always be vigilant. You can?t think, ?oh that little bit won?t hurt me?. Think about how small a pill is ? if it is the culprit!
Man, I could have eaten a chocolate cake containing gluten and had the same reaction as taking a tiny little pill. It is a constant endeavor, isn?t it? Even with the best intentions this can happen. ?Alternative Cook, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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