I picked up a bottle of Tylenol at the pharmacy and scanned the inactive ingredients for maltodextrin. Yes, there it was. Maltodextrin is a common food additive derived from grain starches, typically from corn in the U.S. and wheat in Europe. Though the chemical process is said to strip the majority of the wheat or corn protein so that it is gluten-free, it doesn’t make my body happy to eat it.
Remember, your body will tell you when it doesn’t like a food.
Sugar alcohols are common additives in food and medications as well: Sorbitol,mannitol, lactilol, and xylitol. Though they are listed as safe ingredients for celiacs, my stomach does not approve.
In addition, most medications are not labeled gluten-free, and to determine whether the inactive ingredients contain gluten, you have to call the manufacturer – who may or may not even know or test for the presence of gluten. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has been asking the Food and Drug Administration for several years for mandatory labeling on medications so that consumers with celiac don’t have to guess.
Until then, what’s a girl to do?
To get a clean Tylenol and Benadryl (the two medications I take on occasion), I went to Rocky Mountain Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy in Bozeman, Montana. They created a customized solution for me by putting only the active ingredient in a gelatin capsules so that my body didn’t have to deal with any additives, dyes, or gluten. What a relief! Compounding pharmacies are available across the country and I highly recommend them if you want to avoid the headache of trying to figure out what’s exactly in your medication and what’s not and just go as clean and simple as possible.
To share more information about gluten-free medications and how to talk to your pharmacist about your specialized needs, I interviewed my own compounding pharmacist and friend, Andy Hintzpeter, who works at Rocky Mountain Pharmacy. Andy offered some great tips and resources during the interview and I encourage you to give it a listen. Just click on the play button below or click here to download the interview to your computer to listen as a podcast.
Janelle Holden is a gluten-free life coach. She helps people who have struggled with their diet and body for years learn how to overcome that challenge and love life again. To ask your own questions, click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute Get Acquainted Call.