Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Activated carbon and gluten?

Peat, coconut, lignite coal, bituminous coal, wood

The above are the ingredients in an activated carbon water filtration system that I am considering changing to. I currently have an activated carbon system but dont know what the media consists of.

As coal and peat are products of organic plant materials, is it possible they might contain gluten? Peat has not been exposed to the pressure and heat of coal.

I have been on a gluten free diet for 17 months and in the last 3 months almost grain free. My endoscopy shows I still have Active Celiac disease.

I am looking outside the box for other sources of gluten. Any sources for exploring gluten and carbon?

11 Replies

I do not really think this would be a problem as none of these products contain gluten. However a phone call might be worthwhile. :)


Not really sure how carbon would be a problem. You should really give it a bit more time, perhaps stay away from lactose as well. Either that or it could be cross contamination if you live with someone who is non gf.

Hope that helps


There is hidden gluten in many things, or it could be cross contamination in your kitchen? Have you tried a full food diary? We have to be sherlock holmes!!!


An interesting question and I am no expert.

I agree that peat would not be subject to the pressure and heat exerted on coal. The conditions in peat formation would be anaerobic which may have some effect on protein.

I suppose origin of the peat would make a difference and it seems that pollen grains are readily isolated and identified from peat. Perhaps grains don't grow in areas where peat is likely to form, however, there are reports of preserved animals, including man, in peat where grains have been found in the stomach and identified.

It is a specialised question and I suspect the something that has not been considered and may be difficult to give a definite answer.


Hi there, this is an interesting question. I would look at a local carbon filter installer in your area to determine whether you live in a soft or hard water area and find what is the recommended type of filter for your area.

One thing that I would be mindful of is whether the activated carbon filter is an extruded one as this uses a binder to bind the carbon and I would want to know what this binder is.

Another thing that I would ascertain is will the filter system affect the electrolytes in the water that you drink. Electrolytes affect our ability to absorb salts and minerals from water and lacking in electrolytes can cause diarrhoea and sickness.

I agree with the other comments regarding cross contamination and think that you could reassess your food preparation area and methods to see if it is creeping in somehow.

And I also agree that it would be an excellent idea for you to keep a food diary and consider an elimination diet and if you eat oats at the moment then try cutting them out.

I am also interested in why you feel the need for a water filtration system. I read a really interesting article about bottled water and it contains far more bacteria than is allowed in tap water and that the safest bottled water to drink would be stored for a year in a freezer to kill the bacteria and then drunk as soon as it had thawed.

And water filters have to be changed regularly because of the build up of bacteria.

Here's a recent article on bottled water and there are many more on the web:

Lastly I hope that you find the source of gluten and make a full recovery and it might be worth discussing Refractory CD with your specialist if this continues. So good luck and let us know how you get on.


Thanks, I have kept a food diary for a year - I went on the Specific Carb Diet for a couple months but had to stop as was unable to hold onto my weight. I have elliminated dairy and eggs and most grains. I have not had corn or oats since early in my GF diet. Added back in potatoes and yams and eat little bit of rice for calories. I am sensitive to fruits and nuts as well.

I have an upcoming apt with gastrenterologist.

Are you aware of the correlation between tTG blood test results and biopsy results that show histology for Celiac disease? I am puzzled as my tTG shows normal and histology shows active Celiac disease.

Thanks again for your reply.


Hi there, as far as I am aware the tTG blood test is merely and indication of a predisposition to having CD but is far from conclusive.

Here's a previous thread on GFG with positive blood test but normal villi:

All coeliac are different in how long it takes for their villi to recover and GFG has many members who still do not feel well on their gf diet. Fructose the natural sugar in fruit is also problematic to some coeliac maybe it's because it's another long chain molecule like gluten and it seems to trigger an immune system response.

So I think that the most important thing is that you know you are not alone and to stick with it and try not to worry about it as worry is very stressful which in itself is very harmful to us. I know that this is easier said than done.

It might be a good idea if you consulted a nutritionist and I'd look at foods like quinoa and check what foods contain glutamine as that is an amino acid that athletes take to help repair body cells. Zinc is also an important mineral for the repair of our bodies and many people are deficient in zinc. So I would get a full blood screen which shows all your vitamin and mineral levels and target any that you are deficient in.

And if you have any other questions then you just ask away and I think you'll be surprised at how many others have ongoing issues.


I discovered wheat in my shampoo ingredients and in my natural organic sun screen lotion after using them!

I hadn't thought to check the ingredients on my cosmetics and toiletries before that!


Yes, I have had to change lots of skin care products.

It is difficult process finding hidden gluten.


Why not a simple phone call or is this too simple.


Not sure who I am calling. The company that supplies the activated carbon provided me with the ingredients that make up the media. I dont think they would know if peat and carbon have gluten in them?

I think the best would be to test the water for gluten.

Do you know how to do that?

The lab in my town tests water for lots of things but not gluten.


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