Arthritis and Gluten- the hidden connection

Coeliac Disease and Arthritis

Coeliac Disease sufferers may find relief from arthritis symptoms by changing their diet.

Scientists are studying in ever greater detail the role of the gut and inflammatory disease in modern illnesses.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease of the joints. Coeliac Disease is also an autoimmune disease, but of the gut. Could there be a connection between the two, and could treatment for one help ease the other?

The science of autoimmune diseases is a complex and relatively new field. Everything from depression to arthritis has been attributed to our immune system attacking our own bodies instead of viruses, bacteria and other hostile organisms that attack our bodies.

Scientists in America have recently suggested that there may be a link between Coeliac Disease and Arthritis.

Coeliac Disease is caused by the body’s immune system responding to gluten, a protein found in wheat. In Coeliac Disease the immune system sees gluten as an enemy and attacks it. This causes inflammation of the intestine which goes on to damage the structure of the gut so badly that it affects its ability to absorb nutrients.

Gluten, unlike other proteins isn’t digested completely and fragments of partially digested gluten can pass through the intestine into the blood stream, circulating around the body reaching its organs and joints. This can cause a host of serious problems such as weight loss, anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, skin rashes, headache, depression, fibromyalgia and joint pain.

According to Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, inflammation outside the gut is especially likely to affect the joints. She adds that many of her Arthritis patients who are sensitive to gluten notice less joint pain when they don’t eat it. “Patients with arthritis are always looking for nondrug ways to manage inflammation,” she says. “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.”

However it’s not a good idea to embark on a gluten free diet for arthritis before testing for Coeliac Disease as the diet will make the tests inaccurate, and there can be other causes than gluten such as FODMAPs (sugars in some fruit and vegetables), lactose or wheat.

However if you do have an autoimmune condition such as arthritis specialist doctors encourage you to get screened for Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

Please Note:

This article is based upon one published by the Arthritis Foundation in July 2015. O’Neill Injury Solicitors are not medical practitioners so any information in this article must not be taken as medical advice. If you are concerned about any of the issues raised in the article please seek qualified medical advice and do not consider taking any actions based on the information in this article before doing so.