Is gluten playing havoc with your fibromyalgia symptoms?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a latin word literally meaning ‘glue’. It’s a group of proteins called prolamins and glutelins which are found in the endosperm of various cereal grains. Glutens have viscoelastic and adhesive properties, which provide the elasticity in dough, helping it to rise…giving bread, pasta etc their chewy texture.
Why is it used in so many products? Well as is almost always the case with widely used ingredients…it’s cheaper!
What’s the connection between fibromyalgia and gluten?
A study published by BMC Gastroenterology showed the impact of a gluten-free diet on health-related quality of life in seven fibromyalgia patients with associated celiac disease, found that wheat could play a sizable part in fibromyalgia.
Here is the description of their findings:
The remarkable improvement achieved for all outcome measure after one year of uninterrupted GFD (gluten free diet) in 7 CD (celiac disease) females previously categorizes as severe IBS/FMS patients recruited through case-finding among IBS and FMS patients.’
Do the symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance overlap fibromyalgia symptoms?
Here’s a list of the most common symptoms:
Lethargy / weakness
Decrease in energy
Constipation / diarrhea
Can celiac disease or gluten intolerance impact on emotional states?
As you can see from the above symptoms celiac disease or gluten intolerance could clearly have a significant impact on fibromyalgia symptoms.
After experiencing severe stomach pains, IBS type symptoms and bloating I was tested for celiac disease. Although my test came back negative, I was curious to see what difference removing gluten from my diet would make. Did it make a difference?
Yes, is the resounding answer!
Have you tried removing gluten from your diet?
Start with a two-week trial by removing all products that have gluten. Do check labels as it seems to pop-up in so many foods. Even a stock powder that I was using contained gluten, but I found its gluten free buddy.
I did find some great gluten free pasta (not the stuff that goes all stodgy after being cooked and just looks like mush in the bottom of the sauce pan). One was actually made from quinoa which actually tasted like pasta.
I haven’t managed to find a great bread (so if you know of one please let me know below)…and I love bread. I’ve come to the conclusion, I have to invest in a bread machine and make my own.
Try swapping the grains containing gluten for these gluten free alternatives:
Brown rice, wild rice, amaranth, quinoa, polenta, teff, millet, sorghum.
I have found by far the best way, both in terms of cost effectiveness and health is to return to ‘clean eating’ rather than buying foods from the, ‘free-from’ ranges which can have other questionable ingredients and be pretty pricy, especially when cooking for a family.
It’s definitely worth the effort to see how different your symptoms are on a gluten free diet!
If you have any tips that you have found to help remove gluten from your diet or you have noticed marked differences in your symptoms by removing gluten from your diet, we would love to hear them, please do comment below or get in touch.
Have a wonderful day