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

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Autoimmune Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Symptoms | 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
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!


Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin February 2014 Meeting

Posted on January 8th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Autoimmune Disease, GIG of Marin | Comments Off on Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin February 2014 Meeting

gigofmarin1UPDATE: We have many wonderful vendors attending this meeting, including Bread SRSLY and Odd Bagel, who will be SELLING their breads, Good Eggs – a grocery delivery service, and samples from Mary’s Crackers, Simple Squares, and Larabar. Please RSVP by email or Facebook if you will be attending this event so we can let our vendors know!

Gluten can trigger many autoimmune conditions:

  • Hashimoto’s, Grave’s Disease & other thyroid conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Vitiligo
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Balance & Movement Disorders
  • Alopecia
  • and others

Autoimmune diseases as a group are the third most common medical condition in America, affecting over 50 million people. And new research indicates that the two leading medical conditions–heart disease and cancer–can have an autoimmune component too.

For some people, autoimmune symptoms and the risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions can persist even after eliminating gluten. But there are actions one can take to alleviate symptoms and reduce risk.

Join us at the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, February 4 to learn more with Dr. David Lepp of The Bay Area Autoimmune and Thyroid Center.   

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

You can RSVP here or on our Facebook page. RSVPs help us plan logistically for the meeting, but if you haven’t RSVP’d, please come anyway! You are always welcome.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Tuesday, February 4
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!


Gluten and skin diseases

Posted on June 19th, 2012 by Alison | Posted in Autoimmune Disease, Celiac Disease, Symptoms | Read 7 Comments - Add Your Own »

The association between celiac disease and the skin condition Dermatitis Herpetiformis has been understood for quite some time, but a newly published article outlines the associations between gluten and other skin manifestations. The article “Celiac Disease and Dermatologic Manifestations“, put out by the Division of Dermatology in Florence, Italy, concludes that anyone suffering from psoriasis, alopecia areata, chronic urticaria, Hereditary angioneurotic edema, atopic dermatitis, or Cutaneous Vasculitis be screened for Celiac Disease.

They also reviewed other skin diseases for their possible relationship to gluten, and in the conclusion they state: “Although in none of these cases has been effectively demonstrated a pathogenetic link between the diseases, some of these associations are more common. Particularly lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, vitiligo, Behc¸et disease, linear IgA bullous dermatosis, and also both skin and mucosal manifestations of lichen. Besides the importance of the diagnosis of DH [Dermatitis Herpetiformis], that is virtually always associated to CD and can be considered a specific marker of the disease, even the identification of the other dermatological conditions associated with gluten sensitive enteropathy could be significant, highlighting the importance of a close collaboration between gastroenterologists and dermatologists. In fact,many skin diseases reported in this paper are actually more common in the celiacs or show atypical clinical presentation often associated with resistance to standard therapies in those patients.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from a skin condition, think about gluten. This article focuses on celiac disease, but as those of us in the gluten-free community know, these same symptoms apply to people with gluten sensitivity.

The entire review article can be accessed here: Celiac Disease and Dermatologic Manifestations.

Please leave comments about your experience with gluten and skin.


Multiple sclerosis linked to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity

Posted on March 30th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Autoimmune Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, News & Research | Read 25 Comments - Add Your Own »

ms1One of my main goals in writing a blog is to raise awareness about the conditions associated with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, in hopes that people find answers and get well. Multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system, is one of those conditions that has been linked to celiac disease, but not much research has been put forth. I could point to anecdotes from people I know who have successfully relieved their symptoms of multiple sclerosis with a gluten-free diet, and some people would be satisfied with that. There are others who like to see research and proof before they will believe in a treatment and make such a radical change in their lifestyle. I understand that thinking too, which is why I try to bring in the studies, if available, to back up the claims.

There is a new study on the prevalence of celiac disease in multiple sclerosis, published in the journal BioMed Central. Below is my summary of the study, but be sure to read my comments after to see that the number of MS patients with a gluten sensitivity may be even higher than suggested in the results of the study.

First, they analyzed 72 MS patients, who had the Relapsing-Remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), characterized by intermittent episodes of relapses and prolonged remissions (this type makes up 80% of MS cases)

  • They detected positive Tissue transglutaminase 2 (tTG-2), a blood marker for celiac disease, in 7 MS patients (10%)
  • They detected mild or moderate villous atrophy (Marsh III type) in duodenal biopsies, in 8 MS patients (11.1%). Villous atrophy, or flattening of the nutrient-absorbing villi in the small intestine, is indicative of celiac disease.
  • Overall prevalence of celiac disease in MS patients was between 5-10 times higher than the frequency found in the general population.
  • All the celiac patients were put on a gluten free diet and all of them improved considerably both with respect to gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms in the follow-up period.

Then, they tested the MS patients’ 126 first-degree relatives.

  • They found that 23 out of the 126 first-degree relatives (32%) had celiac disease.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS STUDY:

At first I thought that 11.1% of MS patients having celiac disease is a statistic to pay attention to. But then I read the study more carefully, and saw this sentence buried in the text: “We also discovered several duodenal lesions in 21 (29%) of RRMS patients and mild villous atrophy in 8 (11.1%) of them.” Duodenal lesions in 29% of MS patients! The duodenum is the first section of the small intestine, and lesions are areas of abnormal tissue. So I investigated further, and found that according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, “celiac disease can cause patchy lesions in the duodenum.” Perhaps those people with duodenal lesions were borderline celiac, or even celiac, and should have been counted.

It’s not clear from the study whether it was 21 patients with duodenal lesions PLUS 8 with villous atrophy, or if the 21 included the 8. If they were separate, then it would be 29 patients out of 72, which would be 40% of MS patients with celiac or borderline celiac! Now that’s a stat that would turn heads!

And, as we know from experience and recent studies, gluten sensitivity is real, and considered a separate condition from celiac because gluten-sensitive people don’t necessarily have the villous atrophy that defines celiac disease. They do, however, often display neurological symptoms.

The conclusion of all this? It’s as was stated in the study:
All of these findings, together with the high prevalence of CD in first-degree relatives, support a frequent association with gluten intolerance in RRMS patients.

You can read the full text of the study at BioMed Central.

The comment section is a great place for anyone with MS to add his/her own experience with a gluten-free diet. Your comments are so valuable to those seeking help.







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