Gluten is a protein usually found in barley, rye, wheat products. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity are long, and many symptoms fall outside of digestive issues. Joint pain (especially in the hip, knees, back, and wrists), for instance, is one such symptom. In many instances, unexplained joint pain (known as “arthralgia”) is the first symptom prior to any digestive or intestinal problems. Other symptoms include: low levels of iron in the blood, depression, painful migraines (that begin within an hour of eating foods that contain gluten), and a skin rash. These symptoms are due, in part, to the lack of necessary nutrients being absorbed into the body.
Unlike other types of proteins, gluten is never completely digested, and in some people, their immune system views gluten as a threat and will begin an attack, and in turn, cause the intestines (as well as other organs) to inflame.
Gluten can cause inflammation within the body. Joint pain, often diagnosed as arthritis, is often a direct symptom of someone being sensitive and/or intolerant to gluten. Arthritic pain is usually treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. As you read through this article, you may see that a simple change in your current diet may decrease swollen joints and reduce pain. Alcohol and high sugar foods are known to increase pain in the joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, foods that contain gluten are also a culprit to joint pain.
Joint pain can be due to arthritis (which is basically a breakdown of joint cartilage), or joint pain can be due to age accompanied with excess body weight, and have nothing to do with eating gluten. Individuals, however, who have adjusted their eating habits, have noticed a drop in joint pain, especially when they removed gluten from their daily diet plan. Research is still being conducted, as to whether gluten and arthritic pain are directly linked.
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that is activated when breads, pastas, cereals and other foods, that contain gluten, are consumed. The result, when your body is allergic to gluten, is that your body will attack gluten, and this will cause pain in the abdomen accompanied by bouts of diarrhea (which can cause severe weight loss and dehydration). Bones and bodily organs can eventually become damaged, if not properly treated. Celiac disease is often misdiagnosed, because joint point (and other arthritic type symptoms) is often times the most common condition.
Gluten can be found anywhere in the blood stream, and this is why individuals can experience pain and joint inflammation throughout the body, and not just in a centralized location. There are currently more than three (3) million people (adults as well as children) in the United States who are dealing with Celiac Disease, and millions of more people who have gluten sensitivity (and are possibly improperly diagnosed).
Individuals with celiac disease are said to be more susceptible rheumatoid arthritis. This is common, due to the fact, that people who have one type of autoimmune disease will be at a higher risk for getting another type of autoimmune disease. Having an autoimmune condition means that your immune system attacks healthy body tissues, instead of bad bacteria and dangerous viruses.
Even if you have not been diagnosed with celiac disease, there is evidence that shows that following gluten-free diet can bring some relief to people that suffered with rheumatoid arthritis. It was researched, studied and documented in the Journal of Rheumatology, that people, who strictly followed a vegan and gluten-free diet for less than a year (nine months), saw a significant reduction in their joint pain, and other symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Many rheumatoid arthritis patients are often seeking non-drug treatments to help alleviate their joint pain, and going gluten-free may be just the thing to achieve this goal. It is important to note, that there are other foods that may contribute to joint pain, such as sensitivity or an allergic reaction to lactose. But, if your joint pain is due to gluten, it is encouraged that you keep to as strict a gluten-free diet plan as possible, because pain will come back in full force, if you ingest gluten.