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Gluten-free diet leads to remission of fibromyalgia in new study

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by Alison Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

In 2008, I wrote a post theorizing the connection between fibromyalgia and gluten. At that time I could find no published medical evidence of this connection, but comments from readers (over 200 of them) confirmed my belief, that many people with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FM) may really have celiac disease (CD) or gluten-sensitivity and that a gluten-free diet would alleviate some, if not all, of the symptoms. In many cases, it may not be just gluten, but other food intolerance as well.

I am pleased to see a new study out of Spain that examined 20 patients with fibromyalgia who tested negative for celiac disease but that got better on a gluten-free diet. They concluded at the end of the 16 month study that

remarkable clinical improvement can be achieved with a gluten-free diet in patients with FM, even if CD has been ruled out, suggesting that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be an underlying treatable cause of FM syndrome

They found in their study that

The level of widespread chronic pain improved dramatically for all patients; for 15 patients, chronic widespread pain was no longer present, indicating remission of FM.

Fifteen patients returned to work or normal life.

In three patients who had been previously treated in pain units with opioids, these drugs were discontinued. Fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, migraine, and depression also improved together with pain.

Two patients, both with oral aphthae, went into complete remission for psoriatic arthritis and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis.

For some patients, the clinical improvement after starting the gluten-free diet was striking and observed after only a few months; for other patients, improvement was very slow and was gradually observed over many months of follow-up.

For eight patients, the intake of gluten was followed by clinical worsening, which subsided after returning to a strict gluten-free diet.

You can download the entire published study here: Fibromyalgia and non‑celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia

If you or someone you know is suffering from fibromyalgia, consider celiac disease or gluten sensitivity as the cause of the symptoms. Trust me, a change in diet is a small price to pay for feeling better!

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  1. Unfortunately for me, going gluten-free in 2010 after being diagnosed with Celiac, did not reduce my fibromyalgia pain. In fact, my pain levels have increased in the 4 years I have been gluten free. My doctor and I were very hopeful it help.

  2. I have been suffering for years with joint pain, headaches, muscles discomfort, stomach issues, tmj, and fatigued for years n getting worse n no results. Bloodwork negative. I have seen a neurologist, ent, physical therapy,autoimmune diseases specialist, gastriologist. Next endrocologlist then rheumatoid specialist. I am at my end. Cant work out. Body hurts. Cant sleep well. Tired n cant think. It effects me everyday n cant do much. I try to eliminate bread. But now I realize I need to Eliminate more. Gluten n eggs , soy n diary n peanuts. Its goin to b hard n expensive. Lost! N frustrated.

  3. Gluten free never reduced my symptoms like I hoped, or expected. I also went dairy & soy free too. However I have stuck with it because my digestion and brain power is better this way. There is nothing good about gluten!!! This study is promising for others with Fibro. In my case, I exhausted many natural therapies for 10 years. Finally I am improving on Valtrex (anti-viral medication) and HRT to stabilise my hormone levels (primarily to raise my low estradiol levels which makes pain & fatigue worse). My feeling is that Fibro has viral origins. It then causes food sensitivities – which particular Fibro doctors have suggested. I have never succumbed to pain killers because they knock me out. Plus who wants the side effects of you can avoid it. I still use vegan Chinese herbal therapy which helps me mentally more than anything else. Never give up until you find what helps you the most!