Ask a Doctor: Charcoal After Gluten Exposure, Migraines, and Supplements

Alessio Fasano headshotWorld-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist and entrepreneur Dr. Alessio Fasano is chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Dr. Fasano directs the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, specializing in the treatment of patients of all ages with gluten-related disorders, including celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity. He is also a member of the Gluten-Free Living Medical Advisory Board.

This month, Dr. Fasano discusses whether charcoal can ease symptoms of gluten exposure, migraines and supplements. Send your questions for Dr. Fasano to [email protected]

Lately I have been experiencing bad migraines, even though I’m on a gluten-free diet. Could this be related at all to my celiac disease?

As you will surely appreciate, there are many causes for migraine headaches, including celiac disease. In general, symptoms that persist despite good compliance with the gluten-free diet are due to other causes, unless you have an inadvertent gluten contamination.

Learn more about the gluten-migraine connection here.

My friend told me it helps if you ingest charcoal after accidental gluten exposure. Is that a good way to recover more quickly?

I am aware that the idea of ingesting charcoal after eating “offensive” foods is becoming a popular concept circulated on social media networks. Not only is there no obvious scientific proof for its effectiveness in preventing unpleasant consequences from being exposed to foods that can trigger symptoms, but it is most definitely not effective in the case of accidental gluten exposure.

For ways to speed up recovery after gluten exposure, click here. 


What vitamins and supplements do you recommend for patients with celiac disease, or is a well-balanced diet enough?

In general, a well-balanced diet is enough for the daily requirements of proper vitamins and minerals. Polyvitamins can be useful in children, who, along with daily nutritional requirements, also need these vitamins and minerals to maintain growth.

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