So You've Been Glutened... Protocols for Before and After Accidental Gluten Exposure
Updated: Jan 4
I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner™ is not trained to provide medical diagnosis or treatment of any medical or pathological condition, illness, injury or disease. No recommendation or comment made by a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner™ should be construed as being medical advice or diagnosis. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Whether you accidentally got cross-contaminated at a restaurant or relative's house, or you purposefully chose to indulge (I do not recommend this but I know people do it) and are now suffering the consequences, I might be able to help.
I personally avoid gluten at all costs. I am incredibly sensitive to it, even topically, and the smallest amount can knock me down for weeks, if not longer. Despite all the gut healing I have done and being able to reintroduce some dairy, I cannot tolerate any amount of gluten. My symptoms range from acid reflux and vomiting, to constipation and diarrhea, to rashes, anxiety, and insomnia.
While not everyone may be as sensitive as I am, a lot of people still struggle with gluten exposure. There are some things you can do to mitigate the effects and recover your gut health.
If you are going to be eating in an environment where you may accidentally be exposed to gluten or you are concerned about cross-contamination, you can do the following things to mitigate the effects of accidental gluten exposure.
I rarely go out to eat, but when I do, I take these as a precaution:
Hydro-zyme or HCL Pro-Zyme: Digestive bitters or apple cider vinegar would also be suitable. Do not drink cold water with your meal (kombucha would be preferred!). This is good advice for dining out regardless of if you are sensitive to to gluten or not, especially if you want to avoid food poisoning or other food-borne pathogens! I can't tell you how many times I have shared a restaurant meal with others and not only did I not get glutened, by I was totally spared their food poisoning or had less severe symptoms--and I swear it was because I took my HCl! Take 1-2 tablets of either (start with 1 and see how you tolerate it)
Gluten enzymes, like Gluterase and/or GlutenFlam: These have enzymes to help digest gluten, as well as some herbs that help heal the gut and regulate immune response and inflammation. I take 3 Gluterase and 2 GlutenFlam immediately before my meal.
Histoplex: For immediate relief of non-digestive issues such as anxiety, insomnia, rash, etc, that accompanies gluten exposure. I usually make a gut call to see if I want to take these preemptively (with my meal), or wait and see if any immediate symptoms crop up. It depends on the situation. I take 2 capsules.
Digestive Enzymes, like Innate Response or EnzymixPro: Also a good choice if you typically have digestive issues when traveling or dining out, or other food sensitivities. Take 1 Innate Response or 2 Enzymix Pro.
PRO TIP: I just prefer not to go out to eat, but sometimes for special occasions or while traveling, it is unavoidable. I use the Find Me Gluten Free app, or search within Yelp reviews for the word "gluten". Pay attention to dates, too! Management changes (and people have gotten better at being gluten-free and being educated on cross-contamination) so I try to make decisions based on more current reviews.
Prevention is really crucial for me. I have had a lot of success with limiting my exposure to gluten and potential cross-contamination, and using my prophylactic protocol when needed. There have been a few instances where I got lazy or forgot my supplements at home, and paid dearly; in those cases I do the following to lessen symptoms and speed up healing.
Charcoal: I take this if there has been an immediate extreme digestive reaction, usually vomiting within 12 hours (doesn't always happen for me). Some people will take this preemptively; it won't hurt to do so, just know that charcoal should be taken away from all other supplements. I would take it after your meal if you prefer to do this.
Histoplex: I continue taking this for any lingering non-digestive reactions until they resolve.
Intenzyme Forte: If I definitely got glutened, I take 4-5 Intenzyme Forte every couple hours until the symptoms subside. Intenzyme Forte is a proteolytic enzyme that basically is like a natural ibuprofen and it's a medicine cabinet must have for me. Away from food, it's anti-inflammatory; with food it acts like a digestive enzyme. If I had to choose one thing to have, this would be it.
RepairVite: THE ULTIMATE GUT HEALER. If I have been glutened, I will take this and keep my diet as clean as possible. Not only does it help soothe the intestines when they feel like they have been ripped to shreds, but it helps with the mental symptoms of being glutened as well, like anxiety and insomnia. The gut-brain connection is real folks! 2 scoops, twice per day in water (chug it down in a shaker bottle, it's not bad).
Other favorites are Tummy Tonic Tea (use code AMYNTP for free shipping), Primally Balanced Digestive Support Oil (use code AMYNTP for 15% off any oil, expires 6/30 11:59PM CT), and Intestinal Soother tincture.
Depending on how I react to being glutened, I may take V.H.P. and/or Phospatidylserine for sleep support and anxiety, turmeric for joint pain and inflammation, or use Beautycounter's Countercontrol products for breakouts following gluten exposure.
How does your body respond to being glutened? Comment below!
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