Caution when Shopping Online!

One of the disadvantages of the increased recognition of celiac disease appears to be the emergence of a class of "entrepreneurs" who believe that the cure for celiac disease is to lighten your wallet. These can take the form of everything from complete frauds to misleading advertising that implies a cure for celiac disease.

Web Sites -- the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Some of the best sources of information about celiac disease can be found on the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, the web can also have a dark side. Always remember that almost anyone can create a web site without any evaluation of its content and with absolutely no guarantee as to their honesty. At least one web site has been described on the celiac online groups which offers to sell members hundreds of gluten free recipes, access to an online forum, "the ultimate gluten free resource." Unfortunately members report that when they send in their credit card information they are billed for the service but receive nothing.

If you order from web sites, try to be sure you know who you are ordering from. If it's an individual, see if they are recommended by any celiac support groups. If it's an organization, check to see if other celiac organizations recognize them and link to them.

There are a large number of recipe books for gluten free cooking available, and a lot of web sites even offer gluten free recipes for free. There also online forums and groups that offer product and restaurant lists as well as the opportunity to discuss your concerns with other celiacs, for free. Don't let extravagant claims lead you into paying for products or services that are available in better quality or even for free elsewhere.

Food Supplements and Diet Supplements and Enzymes, Oh My!

All of these fall into a category of products which are not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA can take action against unsafe supplements only after they reach the market. It's the responsibility of the manufacturer to be sure that "product label information is truthful and not misleading."

This, of course, has created a situation of "buyer beware." Supplements and enzymes are offered for for wide variety of illnesses (including celiac disease) without good research to support their claims. A common tactic is to list information about celiac disease in a product's advertising and then suggest (without claiming directly) that the product will help. Beware, the goal is to have to have you draw the conclusion that you should take the product, without actually making any direct claims as to its efficacy.

There is ongoing research in enzyme treatment for celiac disease. However there is no current treatment for celiac disease using enzymes. Supplements can be beneficial. For example, if you have osteoporosis or anemia, calcium, vitamin D or iron may help, but only after you have been gluten free long enough that your intestine has healed enough to allow significant absorption. Always remember, taking any product "just in case" should not lower you precautions in avoiding gluten. As with any treatment, consult with a medical professional to determine if its use is appropriate in your case.

Last modified on Thursday, 01-Dec-2016 15:38:07 MST

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