A gluten free diet can put fibromyalgia into remission and reduce symptoms dramatically!
Yes, it’s true, so listen or read on below to find out more
Do you have fibromyalgia?
Do you eat a gluten free diet?
If the answer is no, then you might want to consider doing it because studies show that when changing to a gluten free diet, fibromyalgia can go into remission in some people, and in nearly all people pain and symptoms are dramatically reduced!
Good enough reason for you to try it?
I sure hope so.
But I’m sure you’re looking for some more background info so let’s dig into it a bit.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Fibromyalgia
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a term used to describe people who can’t tolerate gluten. The symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity are similar to celiac and include gastrointestinal symptoms and symptoms that are not related to digestion as well.
Diarrhea, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, and nausea.
Behavioral changes, joint and bone pain, muscle cramps, leg, arm or finger numbness, weight loss or gain, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, headache and brain fog.
The response that occurs from eating gluten is an immune response and as can be seen by the list of symptoms, it is not something you just feel in your digestive tract.
That means you may not even associate your fibromyalgia symptoms as being a problem with something like gluten!
This immune response also increases inflammation in your body and will increase the intensity of symptoms. I wrote about fibromyalgia and inflammation over here recently.
Many people with fibromyalgia also frequently suffer irritable bowel, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity could be a major contributor to symptoms.
Studies Show Reduction of Symptoms and even Remission of Fibromyalgia
Sounds too good to be true??
Well hold on because it’s not!
Clinical studies have measured the response to a gluten free diet by remission of fibromyalgia pain criteria. As you may well be aware, the pain associated with fibromyalgia can prevent a person from working and living a normal life, so a scale is used to measure these outcomes in clinical studies.
Response to a gluten free diet was measured by the following:
- Reduction in widespread pain
- Return to work
- Return to normal life
- Discontinuation of opioid medication
In one study of 20 patients, 15 patients dramatically reduced widespread pain or no longer had it present by simply following a gluten free diet. In 3 patients who were also on opioids, the drugs were discontinued and all other symptoms improved as well. Some patients saw a change in just a few months, while others saw a very slow improvement over 16 months. (Isasi et al. 2014)
Research is still being conducted in this area but I am sure we will see more evidence that gluten does increase the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Still, as far as I’m concerned there is already enough evidence to show the benefits so I’d suggest getting started on a gluten free diet as soon as you can!
Gluten is now widely used in food products under various names, which makes it difficult for you if you don’t know what you are looking for. Different preservatives, thickeners, dyes, and flavorings are often wheat derived and therefore contain gluten. Most products that are now gluten free, will clearly be labelled as such, which does make it easier to find items at the store.
But it is VERY important to avoid ALL gluten. So you will need to read food labels.
So where can gluten be found?
All products containing wheat, barley, and rye contain gluten. This includes derivatives of these.
Here is a list of what to look out for on food labels:
- Brewers yeast
- Bulgar wheat
- Einkorn wheat
- HPP hydrolyzed plant protein
- HVP hydrolyzed vegetable protein (If it says hydrolyzed soy protein it is GF but if not, it could be hydrolyzed wheat so avoid if you don’t know.
- Malt – is made from barley
- Malt extract
- Malt syrup
- Malt flour
- Malt vinegar
- Soy sauce – be careful with this because they contain wheat. You need to buy tamari, a wheat free soy sauce
- Wheat berries
- Wheat starch
You will be surprised at just how many things contain wheat, barley, and rye products. But the good thing is that there are now many gluten free foods that are safe to eat.
I hope this list helps you get started to gluten free eating and less pain and symptoms!
Nutritionist & Health Counselor
Fibromyalgia Handbook Coming Soon
A Fresh Natural Approach to Nutrition & Healing
- Food guide and meal plans
- Effective supplements
- Natural healing tips that work
Slim et al. An insight into the gastrointestinal component of fibromyalgia: clinical manifestations and potential underlying mechanisms. Rheumatol Int. 2014
Slim et al. The effects of gluten-free diet versus hypocaloric diet among patients with fibromyalgia experiencing gluten sensitivity symptoms: Protocol for a pilot, open-label, randomized clinical trial. Contemporary clinical trials. 2014.
Isasi et al Rheumatol Int (2014) 34:1607–1612.
Arranz et al Rheumatol Int (2012) 32:2615–2621.