With all the advertising hype about diets lately gluten-free, you're probably wondering if you should also remove it from your diet. For some people, such as those who suffer from gluten allergy, a gluten-free diet is not a fad but a way of life. However, many people who deal with gastrointestinal stress, skin problems and even arthritis have sought to alleviate their symptoms through a gluten-free diet plan.
Editor's note: this article was medically reviewed by Dr. George Krucik.
An estimated 18 million people in the US UU They have intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, which means that the body takes time to digest it and metabolize it.
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. It can be found in common food products from bread to beer, and even in some unexpected foods like dressings and most candies. Gluten has recently had a bad reputation and is often listed as the culprit of several conditions, although these suspicions are not always supported by scientific evidence. However, about one in every 133 Americans suffers from a severe allergy to gluten and an autoimmune disease known as celiac disease. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) it is estimated that 18 million people in the US UU They have intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, which means that it takes a long time for the body to digest and metabolize gluten. Other foods that contain gluten include: Wheat flour and ingredients such as white flour, semolina, spelled and white bread Pasta, couscous, bread and flour tortillas Baked goods such as cakes, cakes, cookies and confectionery products Cereals, oats and biscuits Meat sauce and soy sauce Marzah and matzo flour Meat for lunch and fried foods Soup stock and cubes
Gluten and rheumatoid arthritis
Some studies suggest a link between allergies or gluten sensitivities and the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Although more research is needed on the subject, a study published in the year 2000 in the British Journal of Nutrition showed a potential link between gastrointestinal inflammation common in gluten sensitivity and joint inflammation associated with arthritis. The study focused on rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the membranes covering the joints, resulting in inflammation and pain.
Some people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis discovered that experimenting with a diet elimination helped relieve painful symptoms.This is limited research on the relationship between diet and arthritis, but a small study in 2001 of 66 people with arthritis published in the journal "Rheymatology" found that those who followed a gluten-free vegan diet reported that they felt better than those who had not followed the diet. As both animal and gluten products were eliminated in this study, it seems that one of the two products activates the symptoms of arthritis.
The effects of dietary manipulation and the elimination of gluten in rheumatoid arthritis remain vague. Many of these studies are too small to be able to say definitively whether or not there is a relationship between gluten and rheumatoid arthritis.
Although there is no guarantee that eliminating gluten will result in an improvement in the symptoms of arthritis, it may be worth trying. There is no harm if you remove this ingredient from your diet if you can get some relief. Talk to your doctor before starting a restrictive diet so he can help you customize a meal plan that ensures you are getting the nutrients you need.
About the author
Sarah Robertson is a registered dietician and nutrition consultant. She works as a consultant for Karelia Health, the Stonington Institute and the New York Center for Living.
Robertson is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is involved with two dietary practice groups: Infectious Disease Nutrition and Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine.