By Bridget

Even before it was confirmed that I had a gluten intolerance, my doctor urged me to incorporate a regimen of probiotics into my daily diet regimen in order to rebuild my digestive system. It was clear that something was wrong, and by introducing the building bacteria pills into my diet I would help my body get back on a healthful living track. The probiotics basically promote digestive health, particularly after damages have been done.

Anyone suffering from Celiac’s disease or a gluten intolerance is unable to properly digest glutenin and gliadin, the two proteins that make up gluten. The gliadin, which gives wheat doughs their smooth, gliding consistency, is only partially digested in the small intestine, resulting in inflammation and damage to the tissue as it tries to work through our systems. This results in significant disruption to the resident bacteria that help our bodies maintain regularity, creating structural changes to the cells that make up our small intestinal tissues. The damage can actually destroy the villi, or tiny protrusions, lining the small intestine that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients from food into our bodies.

Once we’re off the gluten, we need to replenish our bodies by rebuilding these good bacteria. This is where the probiotics come in. Researchers from Finland found that probiotic supplementation helps to reduce the damage caused by accidental ingestion of gluten-filled foods, and can actually help to increase the healing time of our small intestines once a gluten-free diet has been adopted.

Although there’s no “cure” for gluten sensitivities, there are repairs that can be made to our digestive tracts. After years or even decades of damage, helping our bodies rebuild the “good” bacteria is essential to our overall improvement of health. If you’re new to the introduction of probiotics, try incorporating greek yogurt into your diet, as the dairy product is cultured with the good probiotics your body needs. You can also take probiotics in pill form. Whole Foods carries a line called PB8, which are both gluten- and lactose-free!