Hidden Sources of Gluten in Your Vitamins and Medication

Suzy Cohen, RPh

  • The catastrophic problems associated with medication
  • Determining if medications are gluten-free
  • How acid-suppressing drugs can worsen gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
  • The shocking truth about proton pump inhibitors
  • How going gluten-free can help with autoimmune thyroid disease

You spoke and we listened. We've added a spot for comments for those of you that aren't on Facebook.





    It seems almost impossible to get medicine without corn fillers. Drugstores offer one choice now. Corn is cheap and preferred over tapioca or potato. Even allergy pills have it. Polyethylene glycol is very problematic but in common medicines. Many of us with gluten intolerance also have corn allergies. There are more than 200 different names for corn derivatives. It’s great manufacturers removed the high fructose corn oil from our food but what did they do to our medicine?

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      Hi Joan ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with you, corn is cheap! It’s in practically everything! I wish it was not so pervasive in our foods/supplements/drugs! Suzy


        True. Dr. Davis (Wheat Belly) explained it perfectly that these crops like corn and wheat and soy are so (commoditized) for $$$$ that they end up in everything and monopolize the growing or grazing land. What about those crops that are planted in places that are only good for grazing cattle. All the chemicals and water used to keep them going acre after acre to basically harm people now. Better the cows grazing on the grass and not chomping all the corn and soy. We are now upsidedown in our nutrition.


    This was a great lecture! So very useful.


    This is one of the most helpful, interesting and original presentations of the summit.

    bob mencke

    All packaged food and all supplements must have ingredients listed on the label. Is it really too much to expect medications to also do this?


    Wow, what a wonderfully intelligent, compassionate, and articulate woman! I wish all pharmacists could listen and learn from her (not to mention all patients!). THANK YOU.

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      Hi Cindy, When conventional practitioners are faced with their own health concerns, they start to ‘think outside the pill’ and that’s what happened to me. If you read my free chapter for “Headache Free” you get a better picture of WHY I do what I do, and WHY I want so many others to be helped by what I have learned. You are so kind to leave me this beautiful comment, and everything you see in me, is already in you (or you could not see it ๐Ÿ™‚ Suzy


        I totally agree that when it hits closer to home you really pay attention. I am a Medical Assistant who previously worked with infectious disease and endocrine practices. I too would push for compliance with medicines, however after listening to my patients complaints about things not working and they weren’t getting better, I told them they needed to pay more attention to diet. My sister was diagnosed with SLE and every symptom known to that illness she had. She changed her diet extensively- no gluten, dairy, sugars or meat. Strictly plant based. After 6 months her levels were undetected and she had as much energy as a 2 year old. I also changed my diet because I didn’t want her to be alone, did some testing and found out I was allergic to wheat, I also have asthma. Now I am on my way to better health. Feeling a lot better, plus have my whole family on a predominantly plant based diet.

    Suzy Cohen, RPh

    Thanks for your kind comments, I agree, it should be required by law for drug makers to list ALL the ingredients in their medications. The part of my lecture that was edited out was this: If you want to achieve the most vitality, address health concerns naturally! Fillers and excipients in pills are the least of our problems, it’s a actual pill! It’s a DRUG, a synthetic chemical… we should be ‘thinking outside the pill!’ Just sayin’

    Suzy Cohen, RPh

    Hi folks, Here’s my updated list of gluten-free drugs/supplements: http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2013/09/30/partial-list-of-gluten-free-medications-nutritional-products-and-vitamins/


    wow wish you were my pharmacist. Yes it can work to call the manufacturer of the medicone directly, and more accurate. example VSL#3 DS gluten free. Same for calling food companies.

    Suzy Cohen, RPh

    I’m not just a pharmacy nerd, I can cook!!! This is a DELICIOUS recipe for the holidays “Apple Crisp” check it out ๐Ÿ™‚ http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2011/11/07/suzys-apple-crisp-delicious-gluten-free-dairy-free-and-vegan/

    Juanita Moncebaiz

    Dr O’bryan and all the speakers in the Gluten Summit, I am so grateful for all the information given to us this week. I will use it to help all my family and friends who suffer from many illness due to poor diet. Fantastic job well done Dr O’Bryan, god bless


    Thank you so much for this information. Since I have celiac disease and have used antacids and ppi’s for several years, I am hoping that trying the herbal remedies will allow my body to restore and repair itself.

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      Hi Marge, I appreciate your feedback, and wish you well. I wrote an article on marshmallow root here: http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2012/05/21/marshmallow-root-relieves-lots-of-aches-pain/

    Suzy Cohen, RPh

    Everybody: Here’s an article on marshmallow root: http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2012/05/21/marshmallow-root-relieves-lots-of-aches-pain/ MY VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE IT (click on the link at the end of that article).

    Nancy Henderson

    Thank you for such a wonderful and compelling presentation Suzy! What a leader you are to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and natural. I will excerpt your transcript and send it to the MDs that prescribed Prilosec for me– maybe they will listen to you, but were both horrified when I refused it saying I needed more stomach acid and not less. A Q: What can the thyroid patients do that can only tolerate Armour Thyroid? (I have tried all the other synthroid, naturethroid, Tirosint, etc and they do not work.) I have been told that Armour Thyroid not only contains gluten in the cornstarchโ€“ but also has GMOโ€™s from the cornstarch and the feed the pigs eat, too. I am doing everything rightโ€“ no grains and extremely low carb diet for 2 yearsโ€“ all organic and non GMO. The gut flora came back good on a recent stool panelโ€“ yet I am still full of inflammation. It must be the hidden sources in my many supplements and this med. Any thoughts? Thanks so much for your great info!


    This was both fascinating and a bit scary to me. I have been on PPIs for eight years. No doctor has ever told me they might be dangerous, and I have seen five different GI doctors. That fact alone scares me, since I have developed a heart arrhythmia. My cardiologist told me he doesn’t check electrolytes as they are not important information to him. I started drinking coconut water and have been feeling a bit better, but I’m sure that is not enough. The information about gluten in my meds was terrific. In fact, the whole interview was so very informative. Positively wonderful. THANK YOU!!

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      Hi Susan, It always saddens me to hear that doctors are not sharing this important information. That is why I wrote the book on it! I’m so glad you heard my talk today, it will change your life now, and point you in the right direction ๐Ÿ™‚ Suzy


    Thank you so much for the information on probiotics helping T4 to T3 conversion. What a great piece of information!!! It solidified my resolve to work on the gut. I assume that fermented vegetables would help with t4 to T3 conversion as well?


    This is amazing! I had acid reflux and was given ppis. I also have a vague autoimmune disease. I refused to take the pills longterm because of what i read about them and this confirms it! My dad was on them for 3 years. I kept telling him not to take them long term but he trusts his doctors too much. At the same time he was having angina and was in the emergency room on numerous occasions. The study you mention totally makes sense about the connection with the magnesium deficiency. He finally stopped taking the drugs 6 months ago and hasn’t had any angina attacks since! Question: Should he be taking a magnesium supplement now?

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      You know, it isn’t a bad idea Andrea, I think a trace mineral supplement might be even better, in low doses, however I want you/him to ask your doctor about what’s right. It is impossible to comment on an individual basis, but your suggestion does make sense ๐Ÿ™‚ Suzy


    Hi Suzy, Thank you for all this valuable information, I will be listening your lecture again. I also enjoyed you’re book “Drug Muggers”. I believe drug companies should be required to list if the drug contains gluten on the label.

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      Thanks Laurie, I wish we could make them do that, maybe over time. The funny thing is this, sometimes the drug itself is worse than the gluten ya know ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Heather Burkhardt

    Hello, Thank you very much for this presentation. I am an autoimmune patient with numerous grain and casein intolerances. I found out through Cyrex’s panels. Gluten free is just the tip of the iceberg for us. It is more like gluten free, corn free, soy free, casien free, egg free and tapioca free for me. It is a very big investigative process to find a medication that is safe to take. I know now to expect, arrogance and obstacles because I am not a pharmacist or doctor, and multiple calls and emails to get the answers. When you do the gluten cross reactivity panel and avoid all those foods, gluten free is really just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for the work all you do to help us.

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      Hi Heather, Totally understood! My husband has a similar profile to you, we love Cyrex, I mention and promote them all the time. Really love to meet people like yourself, who know about these tests, and take them seriously. You are well on your way to vibrant health because knowledge is power! Suzy


        I keep hearing about these Cyrex tests, and am interested, but am on Medicare and living on disability. Does Medicare cover these tests – or anything like them??

          Suzy Cohen, RPh

          I went to the Cyrex website, and these are there comments: Q: Will Cyrex bill my insurance company? A: At this time, Cyrex Laboratories is not contracted with any insurance provider, including Medicare. Upon payment, you can instantly print your invoices/statements, which you can send to your insurance provider for possible reimbursement. Q: Will my insurance company reimburse me for Cyrex testing? A: Cyrex encourages patients to contact their insurance provider before having testing performed. The insurance provider will need the testing CPT codes, which are listed on this website, under Cyrex Tests and Arrays. *Note: if you also provide a diagnosis code from your healthcare professional, the insurance company can give you a more accurate reimbursement estimate.


    Great information! It confirms what I have wondered. Some years back I suffered from GERD and was put on PPIs. I asked the doctor if reducing my acid production would inhibit my body from absorbing/using calcium from my food. His answer was that there was so evidence or study confirming that. My GERD morphed into abdominal pain and nausea. I was sick all the time. After testing negative for celiac I tried a gluten free diet anyway and over many months my symptoms lessened and have mostly disappeared. Well, I was on and off PPIs for years and now I have osteopenia. I am now trying to build my bones by eating lots of plant foods and taking a plant based calcium supplement. No more drugs for me!

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      I’m glad I was able to confirm and validate what happened to you Barbara. Plant foods are great for bones, they are rich in minerals. It is nice to meet you ๐Ÿ™‚


    Wow…loved this lecture! I, too, wish Suzy were my pharmacist! You were excellent Suzy!!! Took a lot of notes! I wrote a response note on a previous lecture stating I have wheat sensitivity, now leaky gut, and now Candida…guess what…was on PPI’s for 15 yrs! (along with antibiotics, steroids for asthma) Those PPI’s are dangerous! I’m a nurse and knew things weren’t right and continued to see the downward spiral of my health with IBS and Fibro…thanks to this Summit I committed myself to a gluten/dairy free/organic diet and did my 1st food shopping today, not easy in a regular grocery store…realized how limited organics are!!! My one question …what’s the difference from regular store supplements vs Vitamin shoppes/ health food stores and even Funtional MD offices supplement supplies other than price? I can’t seem to get a good answer other than “not regulated” Are any regulated?

      Suzy Cohen RPh

      Hi Marjorie, Supplements are all individual. Functional medicine practitioners use brands such as Xymogen, Metagenics, Thorne and others which have fewer excipients (inactive ingredients) and nothing artificial. The excipients are different from company to company, and formula to formula and you find a lot more of those in grocery store brands. You just have to read the labels. Another difference is that physician-formulated brands have nutrients in a more bio-available (body-ready) form that your cells understand. Hope this makes sense. Suzy

        Suzy Cohen RPh

        Thank you for your kind comments.

        Paul T. Jackson

        As a diagnosed celiac who tolerates corn and small amounts of soy, I must speak up on the matter regarding vitamin supplements. I know of two dozen individuals who have the same health conditions as I do (mentioned above). Speaking on behalf of myself and every one of those others like me, I can say with confidence that our experiences have taught us NEVER to trust a vitamin supplement that is GF-certified. We’ve gone through several brands, only to find they’re cross contaminated with wheat gluten. Go to school on us! No need to walk in our footsteps; the walk was quite painful!


    Shaklee is an awesome source for gluten free supplements. If anyone would like to know more, let me know.


    Thank you, Suzy, It is refreshing to listen to a person like you. So glad you were part of the summit!


    This was a wonderful presentation. I have been put on proton pump inhibitors off and on for many years. Each time I have taken myself off them after 4-8 weeks because I felt worse. Finally my doctor tested my stomach acid (during endoscopy) and found I didn’t make enough acid, so he agreed to stop giving me PPI’s. I then did genetic testing that showed that my genetics caused me to be intolerant of all these drugs. So on top of the regular negative side effects, my personal genetics had a problem with these. Also was on Armour thyroid for years and did well on it. Then I started not feeling well. Finally I started getting hypothyroid symptoms again and my blood tests confirmed that I was once again hypo despite taking the same amount of meds as usual. I found out that the manufacturer had changed the ingredients without telling anyone. I switched to NaturThroid and did better, but still not great. Then I switched to Westhroid P which is the hypoallergenic version, and have been much better. The irony is that the info on the manufacturer’s website said that Westhroid was usually used more for animals. So humans get all the fillers and preservatives, and the animals get the pure thyroid extract!!! So everything you said is so very true – and I learned alot from your talk. Thank you so much!


    tried the whole day but could not open the presentation unfortunately((((

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      I asked someone from The Summit to contact you Olesia.

        Bob Roth

        Olesia, so sorry for this inconvenience. This presentation was a Day 7 presentation and we are currently on Day 8–each day’s presentations are only online for a 24-hour period! If you’d like to own all 29 presentations to watch at your own pace, please visit http://theglutensummit.com/order


    I discovered a “replenisher” drink called Ultima. I thought at last I have found a drink that has nothing in it that could hurt me as a person with celiac condition. Then…I saw other ingredients and read “non-GMO maltodextrin”, I called the company and was assured by a spokesperson that the maltodextrin was from rice. It is sweetened with Stevia leaf extract and grape skin extract. Do you see any harm in this drink?


    Hi Suzy, I think I missed it when you mentioned your husband had an illness. Which illness was it? Is he healed now? Thanks for the great interview.

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      He had a lot of headaches and neuropathy for years, and you can read about it in this free chapter, go to my site: http://www.DearPharmacist.com/HeadacheFree and when you get there, the password to read this free introduction chapter is “headachefree” Let me know what you think. Suzy


    Susy back in 1976 I took keplax and I had a severe reaction. I got pain in my whole small intestine and I told the doctor at the time what was going on and he said you have to finish the medication. Well the pain got worse and just stopped it. I lost my smell and taste. I couldn’t even smell a skunk. I went to a nutritionist who put me on straight zinc. I did recover and it took months. I am allergic to penicillin. I am not sure of the drug spelling so just tried to look it up and I found Keflin yet I seem to remember Keflex. So something for the confusion. I found out over 3 years ago I have celiac. I must have been gluten sensitive for years. Thanks for a wonderful and informative talk.

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      Sad that they brushed you off like that! Many people have reactions to that category of medicine, called “Cephalosporins” so you need to avoid those, as well as the “Penicillins” they are both related to mold you know, as in fungus, and maybe you have an underlying mold allergy (I suspect). This can be tested. One common clue is poor vision, or difficulty with visual contrast. Another is toenail crud ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your nice comments by the way. Suzy


    I learned so much in this presentation. I knew to look at vitamins & supplements for gluten, but had not thought about medications. Thankfully, I do not take meds on a regular basis, and avoid them whenever possible. Thank you for sharing all of this information, and for making the gluten-free list available on your website!

      Suzy Cohen, RPh

      Hi Beth, You are sweet to leave me such a lovely comment, thank you for taking the time. I am creating another amazing list, which I will have posted at my other site (ScriptEssentials.com) and that is going to outline MANY more ingredients, so that we -as consumers- can learn exactly what we are taking in. Stay tuned, keep checking it may take a few more days. Suzy PS: Lucky you don’t take meds on a regular basis.


    Thank you Suzy for your reply. I really appreciated it. I will get checked for mold real soon. I am so happy I listened to you and feel blessed to acquire all the information you gave to so many and me!

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