Gluten and Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in a variety of different foods that contain wheat, rye, or barley. But it can also be found in the derivative to those grains like brewer's yeast and malt. Basically, this is what is going to give the dough its elasticity. 


What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system that normally attacks the foreign substances like viruses and bacteria mistakenly attacks a person's joints. This will cause the person to have a lot of inflammation inside of the tissues of the joints. Therefore, the person will experience a lot of swelling in their joints along with some pain.

 

Gluten and RA: Any Connection?

The link between diet and RA is a controversial one, and the relationship between gluten and joint pain and inflammation is a prime example. Proponents of a gluten-free diet for RA claim it can eliminate joint pain, while researchers are still looking for proof to back up those claims.
Celiac disease is an extreme form of gluten sensitivity, or intolerance, in which the immune system reacts negatively to gluten and causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine.
People with celiac disease are more likely to have autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, but the exact relationship is still under investigation.

By eating foods containing gluten, people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease can bring on gastrointestinal symptoms and joint inflammation that can resemble rheumatoid arthritis. But they are two separate conditions caused by separate immune reactions. 
Eliminating gluten from the diet can ease digestive and joint pain caused by gluten sensitivity in people who are genetically predisposed to gluten sensitivity, but it's not likely to benefit others. A blood test can tell if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

While the Arthritis Foundation recommends that you avoid gluten if you have arthritis, you shouldn’t consider a gluten-free diet unless you have a diagnosis of celiac disease or are diagnosed with gluten intolerance. If you have arthritis, try limiting your intake of gluten, and see if your symptoms improve.

 

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