Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat and related grains such as barley and rye. There is definitely an increase in the number of people intolerant to gluten. A study done by the Mayo Clinic lead by Dr. Joseph Murray shows that a drastic increase in diagnoses of wheat gluten intolerance has come about not because of greater awareness and detection, but instead as a result of the typical American diet and changes in food processing over the last 50 years. The study used frozen blood samples taken from Air Force recruits 50 years ago and found that gluten sensitivities are four times more common today than in the 1950s.
The science is leaning towards the information that topical gluten sources are not absorbed systemically so that they effect the gut. However, there was research done at George Washington University that showed people with gluten sensitivities, including Celiac disease patients, had a local reaction to applying gluten topically in the form of skin products. Reactions include rash, inflammation, redness, itching and dryness. It is important to note that these symptoms cleared as soon as the topical gluten sources were removed.
The internet has an abundance of information listing hidden names for gluten ingredients in food and skin products. Go to your computer and find these lists and carry them with you or compare them to your products at home-- especially if you are having an issue that you are not sure of the source.
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