May is Celiac Awareness Month and a Canadian pharmaceutical company – Duchesnay Inc., is taking an active role in raising awareness about gluten intolerance and other dietary restrictions. Managing a gluten-free diet can be difficult at times and, coupled with a pregnancy, it can seem overwhelming.
Celiac disease is a disorder of the intestines caused by a reaction to the ingestion of gluten, a protein that is essentially found in cereals, such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. In a recent research, it is estimated that 1 in 133 Canadians has been diagnosed with celiac disease, which means that more than 330,000 Canadians are believed to be affected.
Gluten is not only present in food but may also be part of the composition of certain drugs. Women with gluten intolerance should talk with their healthcare professional about hypoallergenic wheat-free and yeast-free medication and vitamins, as the coating of several drugs and vitamins may contain gluten.
“Since gluten and/or lactose may be used in medications as coating or fillers, it is essential for pregnant women with food allergies or restrictions to carefully review the list of inactive ingredient of their medications, in addition to following a strict gluten-free diet”, says Mireille Moreau, Dt.P., M.Sc. Human Nutrition, M.Sc. Biochemistry.
While there are currently no industry requirements for labeling gluten, dairy or other common allergens found in drug ingredients, women with celiac disease should be closely monitored by their healthcare professional to make sure their diet meets their nutritional needs, but also to help ensure that they receive the most suitable treatment possible as some drugs have been labelled allergen-free.
“Pregnant women with celiac disease, those who are intolerant to gluten or lactose as well as pregnant women who require kosher and halal certified medicines, should know that there are prenatal multivitamins and treatments for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy on the market, that are compliant with their dietary restrictions and religious beliefs”, mentions Carole Boyer, Duchesnay Inc. Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Communications.