Some Findings Have Been Reported Suggesting That A Gluten
Gluten is a general term that is used to describe a family of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, durum, and emmer. By far, the most commonly consumed gluten-containing grain is wheat. Gluten is present in various types of food and acts like glue, holding foods together and helping them maintain their shape. Interestingly, the name glu-ten comes from the glue-like consistency of wet dough.
Have a question about
For years now, researchers have been exploring the link between diet and rheumatoid arthritis . More specifically, the link between gluten and joint pain and inflammation. Like RA, gluten sensitivity is common among individuals of northern European descent. Celiac disease is an extreme form of gluten sensitivity. Unlike other proteins, we dont digest gluten completely. In some people, the immune system sees gluten as the enemy and will unleash weapons to attack it, causing inflammation in the intestines as well as in other organs and tissues said Alessio Fasano, Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Individuals with celiac disease are more prone to developing autoimmune disorders like RA and one area in particular that remains debatable is whether a gluten-free diet is legitimately helpful for RA.
Connection Between Celiac Disease And Arthritis
Celiac disease is diagnosed through blood testing to check for antibodies to gluten. If the blood testing comes back positive, your doctor will proceed with an endoscopy to check for any intestinal damage that may have already occurred.
Even though celiac disease awareness is on the rise, the condition still goes highly underdiagnosed and this is largely in part due to the fact it resembles many other conditions including migraines, IBS, and arthritis.
Experts suggest that a person living with rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases should be checked for celiac disease.
You may find that if you do test positive for celiac disease while already living with one autoimmune disease, removing gluten can help improve your symptoms.
Medical Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
The medical treatments available for Rheumatoid Arthritis are many and often come with serious side-effects.
If you have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, chances are youve been prescribed a cocktail of different pills and now have to spend weeks if not months waiting for them to kick in.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but medication is there to reduce swelling and prevent long term damage but finding the right combination can take years.
One of the main prescribed medications of RA is methotrexate, a common cancer drug. This one comes with many warnings and the one that rheumatoid arthritis warriors find most scary. Its a cancer drug.
Methotrexate also comes with regular blood tests to make sure that it doesnt damage your internal organs. If you are a female of child-bearing age, you also have to use a reliable contraceptive because you should not get pregnant while you are taking it.
Other commonly prescribed drugs for RA such as Celebrex and Plaquenil have been known to cause hives, affect vision, trouble breathing, sun sensitivity and complications with skinjust to name a few.
So why would anyone take it? Lets put it into perspective:
If you were in pain constantly and cant even pull up your own pants because you cant even bend your fingers, youd probably take anything to get your life back.
You May Like: How Do I Stop Arthritis
Ra Diet: 5 Foods To Avoid With Arthritis
Its 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:
There are many new drugs, even surgery, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but dont 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.
Other Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Early detection is the key to avoiding harsh drugs.
Those that have found success in controlling their Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms using holistic methods are usually those that recognized the signs early and sought medical attention before the inflammation really takes hold.
The most common holistic method is diet focused whereby an RA warrior will include anti-inflammatory foods in their diet and/or eliminating foods that are known to trigger symptoms of their rheumatoid arthritis.
I say their rheumatoid arthritis because every warrior is different, what works for one may not work for another.
In saying that, there is one practice that many RA warriors will swear by: eliminating gluten.
Also Check: Does Pineapple Help With Arthritis
Gluten Vs Other Potential Causes Of Inflammation From Diet
Consider that going gluten-free in and of itself doesnt guarantee youre eating a healthy diet. As a result of going gluten-free, you may shift your diet to a healthier pattern by eating more fruits and vegetables, but many people dont, says Dr. Konijeti. Theres an entire industry of highly processed gluten-free foods. In other words, gluten-free doesnt mean nutrient-dense.
Theres also the idea that the bad guy gluten may not be the real or only culprit. People may feel better removing gluten-containing foods because they are eliminating something in those foods other than or in addition to gluten.
Many foods with gluten also contain other compounds known as FODMAPs, which is an acronym for different types of carbohydrates found in dairy, certain fruits and vegetables, grains, and sugars. Lactose is a FODMAP, for example. According to review published in JAMA in 2017, the reduction of FODMAPs associated with the gluten-free diet may explain, at least in part, why some patients affected with irritable bowel symptoms may report amelioration of their symptoms after starting a gluten-free diet.
Other components of grains, called amylase-trypsin inhibitors , have also been implicated in promoting inflammation, says Dr. Konijeti.
Tip #: Remember Why Youre Doing It
Dont turn it into a mental game. Focus on why youre making this change. Remember your worst day. I remember having to ask my son to help me put on my bra. Dont want to subject neither one of us to that again!
My rheumatologist said to me during one of our first consultations that there is light at the end of the tunnel but the length of the tunnel is unknown and is different for everyone.
So that is my focus, to keep heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Going gluten-free has made that tunnel a little shorter and put me closer to the light at the end. I hope it will for you too.
Whats they key to loving your gluten free life? Take this quick quiz to get a personalized plan with the guide you need to thrive!
Don’t Miss: Do Certain Foods Cause Arthritis
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.
Can Gluten Trigger Joint Pain
The simple answer is, yes, a sensitivity to gluten can trigger joint pain. Inflammation in the gut can affect the body in numerous ways, including joint pain.
Dr. Rochelle Rosian, rheumatologist from the Cleveland Clinic, explained, Patients with arthritis are always looking for nondrug ways to manage inflammation. We know that certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them. When some, but not all, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves.
Don’t Miss: What Do You Do For Arthritis In Your Feet
Is There A Link Between Nightshade Vegetables And Inflammation
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:
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 youre considering cutting them out, you should speak to a healthcare professional first.
Recommended Reading: What Over The Counter Medication Is Good For Arthritis
Gluten And Joint Inflammation
When a person with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity eats gluten the immune system jumps into action, causing inflammation. This inflammation can affect the bodys organs and soft tissue.4Murry JA, Editor. Mayo Clinic Going Gluten Free, p. 44-45. 2014. Time Home Entertainment Inc. New York, NY.,5Rath, L. The Connection Between Gluten and Arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation. Accessed August 20, 2015. A person may not notice external signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling, but feel other symptoms, such as joint pain.
The joint pain may be constant and chronic or it may be intermittent.
You May Like: Does Taking Calcium Help Arthritis
Gluten Inflammation And Rheumatoid Arthritis: What Studies Have Shown
Theories of the effect of gluten on rheumatoid arthritis appeared more than 50 years ago when the work of an Australian physician, Ray Shatin, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Shatin believed there to be a genetic similarity between people with celiac disease and those with rheumatoid arthritis. He proposed that in RA there is low-level inflammation that occurs with gluten consumption not as strong a reaction as that which occurs with celiac disease, though. He tested his theory on 18 RA patients and all 18 improved on the gluten-free diet. Despite those results, little to nothing was done for decades to further test the connection, if indeed there was a connection.
In 2001, according to study results published in Rheumatology, 66 people with active RA were randomly assigned either a gluten-free vegan diet or a well-balanced nonvegan diet for one year. The gluten-free vegan group had beneficial results, which researchers associated with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens, including gliadin, which is one of two classes of gluten protein linked to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. These antibody levels decreased in the gluten-free vegan group but not the other group.
What Are Celiac Disease And Non
If you cant tolerate gluten, you may have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. If you have it, your immune system responds to gluten by targeting the inner lining of your small intestine. It can cause various symptoms, including:
Celiac disease can potentially lead to severe complications if you dont get treatment. Your doctor may order blood tests and perform a biopsy of your small intestine to help diagnose celiac disease. You need to be eating gluten regularly for these tests to work.
If you experience symptoms when you eat gluten but get negative results on tests for celiac disease, you may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. No single medical test allows your doctor to diagnose this condition. If they suspect that you have it, they may advise you to cut foods that contain gluten from your diet for several months.
If your symptoms lessen over this period, they may encourage you to add gluten back into your diet. If your symptoms increase after you start eating gluten again, its a sign that you have a gluten-related disorder.
Read Also: Are Eggs Bad For Arthritis
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.
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
These are some of the symptoms of celiac disease
- Abdominal pain and bloating
Gluten and Joint Pain
Don’t Miss: What Can Help Arthritis In The Lower Back
Challenges Of A Gluten
If youre still game to go gluten-free, know that some GF foods can also be more expensive or higher in fat, calories, and carbohydrates than their gluten-containing counterparts, Rosian says. And if youre eating out, sticking to the plan can be a challenge.
Still, gluten-free food has become so popular that even some grocery store chains have their own line of choices, and restaurants often offer gluten-free options. Frozen and canned vegetables, whole fruits, fish, beans, lean cuts of chicken and beef, and dairy products like milk and yogurt are naturally gluten-free and generally safe to eat, Stefanski says.
With packaged foods its important to read every label to check for gluten-based ingredients. Also check out the allergen statement at the end of the list, especially if food has been processed in any way for instance, some sausages and yogurts contain added gluten as a thickener. Its important to find all possible sources of gluten, warns Stefanski.
You also want to make sure that youre not missing out on critical nutrients another problem for some on a gluten-free diet. The nutrients that are added back to processed wheat foods, such as iron and B vitamins, can also be found in naturally gluten-free options, Stefanski says. Your best bet: Choose whole foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as rice, potatoes, and corn, rather than gluten-free versions of bread, crackers, or pasta.
The Best Diet For Arthritis
The doctors we spoke with emphasize eating an anti-inflammatory diet with their patients. A whole food, plant-based anti-inflammatory diet is my first-line recommendation, says Dr. Yu. He counsels patients to cut out processed foods and refined sugar, and increase their fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, regardless if those whole grains contain gluten or not.
Fiber is the key player here: More fiber improves gut health, which can relieve inflammation and systematically improve arthritis symptoms, he says.
Other doctors advocate for a similar diet. Nilanjana Bose, MD, a member of the American College of Rheumatology, who practices at the Rheumatology Center of Houston, recommends a Mediterranean diet that restricts refined carbs and sugars, as well as red meat.
The benefits pay off across the board. People who follow a low-carb anti-inflammatory diet lose weight and see their energy, sleep, and joint symptoms improve, she says. Like Dr. Yu, she says that much of the success with an anti-inflammatory diet comes from improving the health of the microbiome, the network of trillions of bacteria in your gut.
Theres been a lot of interest in the gut microbiome. We feel that some of these gut organisms may be promoting inflammation and there are some good gut organisms that decrease inflammation, Dr. Bose explains.
Don’t Miss: Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Hard To Diagnose