- Rheumatoid arthritis patients may have inflammatory reactions to gluten
- Having an autoimmune condition could increase risk of developing other autoimmine conditions
- Cutting back on gluten may improve symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells – in this case, the cells that line joints.
Having an autoimmune disorder could increase the risk of developing other autoimmune conditions, like coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease is a lifelong condition, triggered by a reaction to gluten. Gluten is the name for proteins found in wheat, rye and barley.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers may also unknowingly have inflammatory reactions to gluten, which could trigger joint pain, it’s been claimed.
Cleveland Clinic rheumatologist Rochelle Rosin said some arthritis patients had reported less joint pain when they stopped eating gluten foods, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
“Patients with arthritis are always looking for non-drug ways to manage inflammation,” she said.
“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 coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves.”
The link between arthritis joint pain and gluten is yet to be confirmed, and unless you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease or an intolerance to gluten, it’s best to not actively avoid it.
Talk to your GP about how changing your diet could help to improve arthritis symptoms.
Meanwhile, it was revealed this month that some fried, grilled or toasted foods could be adding to unwanted arthritis joint pain.
The foods contained harmful compounds that increased inflammation, and contributed to oxidative stress.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 400,000 people in the UK, according to the NHS.
Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, and usually affects the hands, feet and wrists.
The condition has also been linked with carpal tunnel syndrome, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
There’s currently no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but early diagnosis, medication and supportive treatments could help to reduce symptoms.