Thursday, May 23, 2024

Is Gluten Bad For Arthritis

Is This Diet Safe

Can Gluten Cause Arthritis

Though many health professionals suggest otherwise, its safe to follow a gluten-free diet even for people who dont necessarily need to do so.

Cutting out wheat and other gluten-containing grains or products will not cause adverse health effects as long as these products are replaced with nutritious foods.

All of the nutrients in gluten-containing grains, such as B vitamins, fiber, zinc, iron, and potassium, can easily be replaced by following a well-rounded, whole-foods-based diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and nutritious protein sources.

The Impact Of Gluten On Joint Pain

In recent years, many people have begun to point to gluten as the culprit behind a multitude of health issues including bloating, diarrhea, and intestinal damage. There is little to no evidence that this commonly found protein can actually cause these issuesunless you suffer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivitybut there may be emerging evidence that gluten can produce or augment joint pain.

A recent survey found that almost 30 percent of Americans try to eat a diet that is gluten-free. It is surprising that this health fad has become so popular despite some weak science supporting it. The truth is that only certain groups of people including those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis need to avoid gluten.

What Is Gluten?

For those not keeping up with the latest health craze, gluten is a class of proteins found primarily in grains like wheat, rye, and barleybut may also be found in many others. Gluten serves primarily as a bonding agent that helps foods retain their shape. In bread products, gluten facilitates the leavening process, making it softer and more elastic. The average daily intake of gluten in a Western diet is about 5-20 grams per day.

Gluten is found in many foods including

Celiac Disease

These are some of the symptoms of celiac disease

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diminished growth
  • Irritability and behavioral issues

Gluten and Joint Pain

Celiac Disease Vs Non

Celiac is an autoimmune disease. For those with celiac, eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body that attacks the lining of the small intestine, causing GI symptoms such as diarrhea and bloating as well as dangerous nutrient deficiencies from not absorbing vitamins and minerals from your food. Celiac disease patients are treated with a strict gluten-free diet.

On the other hand, theres another increasingly recognized condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity . These patients come in with fatigue, joint pain, swelling, muscle pain. The diagnosis is one of exclusion. The doctor runs labs for celiac when the results are negative but the patient improves from eating a gluten-free diet, thats what we call NCGS, explains Dr. Yu.

It may be the case that some people who have inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

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Ditch The Gluten Improve Your Health

This just in: A new health myth has been taking the country by storm.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. After all, health fads especially diet fads have come and gone for decades. Some are more worthy than others. For example, I am impressed by the evidence supporting the Mediterranean diet as a healthy option. As each one of us is different, the “ideal diet” may not be the same for each person. But the interest and enthusiasm surrounding the gluten-free food movement in recent years has been remarkable. Not so long ago, relatively few people had ever heard of gluten. And it certainly wasn’t the “food movement” it has recently become.

If you’re considering limiting your consumption of gluten, you’re certainly not alone. But the question is: Will restricting the gluten you eat improve your health? And will it make you feel better? It’s appealing to think so.

Benefits Of Gluten Free Diet For Rheumatoid Arthritis & What To Eat

Does Gluten Cause Joint Pain? (The Good &  The Bad)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease affecting nearly 54.4 million civilians in the United States.

In this disease, the healthy cells of the body are attacked by the immune system resulting in inflammation.

The parts of the body most affected by this are the joints. Long-term tissue damage can lead to persistent pain, deformation and loss of balance.

Tenderness, swelling, and stiffness of the joints are some common symptoms of the disease. The specific causes of RA still remains a mystery but it has been linked to genetic factors, obesity, and smoking.

Women are more likely to be affected by this disease. Treatment often includes medication and special diets.

There has been increasing awareness regarding the use of special diets for the management of RA and one such diet has been a gluten-free diet.

The scientists with the discovery of celiac disease made this association.

The protein gluten is commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye.

It triggers the immune system, which consequently attacks and damages the small intestine.

Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system is triggered, scientists speculated that a gluten-free diet might be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Also, patients with RA are found to have abnormal intestinal lining and issues related to the absorption of nutrients.

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Ra Diet: 5 Foods To Avoid With Arthritis

It’s time to kick that morning doughnut-and-coffee habit. Research shows that eating certain foods like sugary snacks and desserts and certain caffeinated beverages may worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

According to the American College of Rheumatology , rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. It is caused when the immune system is not working properly.

Symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis may include:

  • Fatigue, fever, and weight loss
  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
  • Tender, warm, swollen joints

Early rheumatoid arthritis typically affects smaller joints first including the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.

Over time, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may spread to the following joints and occur on both sides of your body:

  • Ankles
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists

There are many new drugs, even surgery, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but don’t ignore the simpler ways of reducing RA pain, like lifestyle measures and a healthy diet. Though the scientific research surrounding an RA diet and rheumatoid arthritis is still inconclusive, many highly trained doctors recommend avoiding certain foods to see if this helps your joint inflammation and pain.

Does coffee cause inflammation with RA? As mentioned, coffee may increase inflammation, so stopping coffee on an RA diet may be helpful in managing inflammation and joint pain.

Gaps In Understanding And Directions For Future Research

There is currently a lack of understanding for nutritional requirements in RA. Specific dietary recommendations have not evolved due to variability in the clinical course of RA. In 386 patients from the Västerbotten Intervention Program cohort, diet was not associated with a risk of RA. In a recent feasibility trial, individualized counselling did not significantly improve the dietary habits in patients with inflammatory RA of < 1 year duration .

Future trials may evaluate specific dietary modifications, e.g. the association with moderate intake of alcohol and the role of probiotics and antibiotics in RA. There is a potential role of adipokines in mediating the association of RA and obesity. If studied in future trials, this can help to understand newer molecular targets for management of RA Studies that link diet with RA and specific pathways of inflammation and immune regulation offer the possibility of identifying new therapeutic approaches in select patients. Better understanding of dietary factors in RA can contribute to developing new insights in disease pathogenesis and RA-specific recommendations.

The effects of -3 PUFAs supplementation on radiographic progression and synovial histopathology in RA remain to be evaluated in future studies. The role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in early arthritis and in combination with biologics should also be explored in well-designed trials in RA patients .

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Gluten May Be A Food To Avoid With Arthritis

Research shows that some people with rheumatoid arthritis also have celiac disease, which is triggered by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives dough a chewy texture. When someone has celiac disease, eating gluten causes an immune reaction in the small intestine that can lead to bloating and diarrhea.

In some people, the inflammatory reaction may extend to the joints, which only aggravates rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While dietary interventions for rheumatoid arthritis remain controversial, the gluten-free trend is showing some positive results, notably the easing of celiac rheumatic symptoms, according to research published in September 2016 in Autoimmunity Reviews. But before trying a gluten-free diet, get tested for celiac disease, Michet suggests.

The Connection Between Gluten And Joint Pain

Wheat Belly: An Unintended Consequence

It turns out, researchers have long known that people with autoimmune forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, are at higher risk for celiac disease,1,2 an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten.

See Inflammatory Arthritis

More recently, medical experts have begun to acknowledge the connection between gluten and joint pain described as non-pathologic .

Both my orthopedist and primary care provider agree that my gluten-free diet is probably keeping my joint pain and other symptoms of inflammation in check.

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Are Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis

Can eating too many tomatoes lead to inflammation and arthritis symptoms? Not necessarily. But unfortunately, theres a persistent myth that tomatoes will make your arthritis symptoms worse.

Theres no evidence that diets where you cut certain foods out, also known as elimination or exclusion diets, helps osteoarthritis symptoms.

Theyve been shown to sometimes help people with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. But what works for one person, may not work for another. So, its worth speaking to your healthcare team before cutting anything out.

If you have any type of arthritis you should try to eat:

  • a balanced diet to get the vitamins and nutrients you need
  • a more Mediterranean-style diet which includes fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil and plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • more omega-3 fatty acids, for example from oily fish.

Although there are no diets or supplements that will cure your arthritis, some people do find that their condition is affected by what they eat and their exercise levels.

Whatever you choose to do, its important to strike a balance between medication and lifestyle changes.

Cut Back On Meat To Decrease Ra Inflammation

Meat may be another food to avoid with arthritis. Changing from a meat-heavy to a vegetarian diet often improves RA symptoms. Meat consumption is associated with higher overall fat and calorie intake, which are markers for an unhealthy diet. The fats in meat are more easily metabolized into pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, Michet says. Production of these inflammatory chemicals is good in certain circumstances, such as when you’re fighting an infection but they can also cause painful inflammation and swelling in spaces like your joints. Instead of eating meat exclusively, supplement your RA diet with plant such as beans, lentils, and soy, Dr. Agarwal says.

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Advanced Glycation End Products

AGEs are inflammatory compounds that can accumulate in tissues, particularly as someone ages. An article in Patient Education explains that people with diseases such as diabetes and RA often have increased AGE levels. So, reducing AGE levels may help reduce inflammation.

Fat and sugar both increase AGE levels in the body. Some food processing methods and high temperature cooking also increase the AGE levels in food.

Arthritis And Gluten: What The Science Says

Does Gluten Cause Joint Pain? (The Good &  The Bad)

Theres not a wealth of evidence showing that following a gluten-free diet could improve arthritis symptoms. A 2001 study published in the journal Rheumatology followed about 20 patients each as they embarked on a gluten-free vegan diet or a non-vegan diet for one year. At the end of the study, more of the people in the gluten-free vegan group experienced an improvement in symptoms compared to the non-vegan group . Keep in mind that there was more going on in this study than gluten or no gluten: the group that saw the benefit was also eating a vegan diet, which also eliminates animal proteins like meat and dairy. It was also an incredibly small sample size.

A later review study published in Frontiers in Nutrition in 2017 analyzed various clinical trials that looked at how dietary changes may affect rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The studies in which people followed gluten-free diets also used gluten-free vegan or vegetarian diets, which means that experts couldnt tease out the impact of gluten alone. Based on the available research, the authors lay out an ideal anti-inflammatory diet for people with arthritis: fruits, legumes, spices, herbs, oils, yogurt, and whole grains, including those that contain gluten, like whole-wheat bread, rye, and barley.

Bottom line: In the absence of a celiac disease diagnosis, theres not enough evidence to suggest that people with rheumatoid arthritis go gluten-free, per a review in the July 2019 issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

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Deadly Inflammation Causing Foods Fatal For Inflammatory Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful condition that involves inflammation, swelling and joint pain. Although there is not strict diet for arthritis, excluding certain foods from the diet can help in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and calming the excruciating pain.

Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates

It is difficult to resist the temptation of desserts, chocolate bars, pastries, soda and other sweet treats but sugar and refined carbohydrates must be eliminated from a rheumatoid arthritis patients diet because processed sugars trigger inflammation in the body by increasing the release of cytokines the inflammatory messengers.

Fruit juices, canned fruits and other sweets are loaded with fructose and sucrose which are poisons by themselves. Refined carbs such as white flour, white rice and sugar) are also called pro-inflammatory carbs. Such carbs are not used as energy rather they are stored as inflammatory saturated fats in the body which triggers inflammation and cause heart disease.

Salt and Preservatives

Excessive salt in food and added table salt in food is one of the main causes of inflammation. Processed foods and ready to eat meals contain high levels of sodium and preservatives to increase their shelf life. Regular consumption of these foods results in the inflammation of joints.

Dairy Products

Fried and Processed Foods



Corn Oil



Best Anti-inflammatory Foods for the Arthritis Diet

Should You Consider A Gluten

While individuals with celiac have to follow a strict gluten-free eating plan in order to avoid flare-ups, avoiding gluten isnt a general recommendation for people with arthritis. There just isnt enough evidence to support a connection between gluten and arthritis inflammation across the board.

But theres a personalized nature to autoimmune disease triggers. If you find that eating less gluten, or no gluten, eases your inflammatory arthritis symptoms, then it could be a viable option for managing flares. Talk with your doctor before starting a gluten-free diet to make sure they understand your thought process.

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Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids And Ra

Long-term intake of fish and other sources of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been reported to be protective for development of RA. In a prospective study in 205 women with RA, dietary intake of long-chain n-3 PUFAs was associated with a 35% decreased risk of developing RA 0.65 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.90) compared with a lower intake. Long-term intake of consistently > 0.21g/day was associated with a 52% decreased risk and consistent long-term consumption was associated with a 29% decrease in risk .

Some studies support the role of -3 PUFAs supplementation as a valuable therapeutic option to improve symptoms, tender joint count, duration of morning stiffness, and the requirement of NSAIDs in RA . In a recent meta-analysis of 20 randomized control trials , -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reduced the level of leukotriene B4 and blood triacylglycerol levels in RA .

Is There A Link Between Nightshade Vegetables And Inflammation

Living Gluten Free: Methotrexate, Reversing Joint Damage, and Other Arthritis Pain Medications

Some people feel that eating foods from the nightshade family, also known as solanaceous vegetables, may make their arthritis worse. But research has shown that there is no link between inflammation and solanaceous vegetables.

Examples of nightshade vegetables include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Aubergines

Its possible to have food allergies that are linked to the nightshade family, so if youre concerned about this, we recommend you speak to a healthcare professional.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with important vitamins and minerals that you need for a balanced diet. So, if you’re considering cutting them out, you should speak to a healthcare professional first.

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Celiac Disease Vs Gluten Sensitivity

In people with celiac disease, gluten can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. Gluten sensitivity can generate symptoms similar to celiac disease but seems to cause less or no damage to the small intestine.1

Diagnostic screening for celiac disease measures the bodys reaction to gluten proteins therefore, people who want to be screened for celiac disease are advised to be screened before starting a gluten-free diet.

Vegan And Elimination Diets And Ra

Some studies have demonstrated benefits of vegan diet in RA The benefits of vegan diet may be explained by antioxidant constituents, lactobacilli and fibre and by potential changes in intestinal flora In a single-blind dietary intervention study, 24 patients with moderate-to-severe RA reported significant reductions in symptoms with a 4-week, very low-fat , vegan diet. At 4 weeks, weight and all measures of RA symptomatology decreased significantly , except for duration of morning stiffness . There were no significant reductions in C-reactive protein and RA factor while erythrocyte sedimentation rate remain unchanged .

In a study by Kjeldsen-Kragh , patients were assigned to fasting followed by a vegan diet 12 of the 27 patients in the experimental diet group showed significant clinical improvement compared with only 2 of the 26 patients in the control group . After the study, patients were evaluated after 1 year. The diet responders continued to be statistically better than the non-responders in clinical variables.

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