Why a Gluten-free diet?
A gluten-free diet is a diet completely free of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale. Gluten is also used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often hidden under "maltodextrine", "dextrine", and "dextrose". A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy. Additionally, a gluten-free diet may exclude oats, however medical practitioners are divided on whether oats are an allergen to celiac disease sufferers or if they are cross-contaminated in milling facilities by other allergens.
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), unless made from soy or corn
- Flour or Cereal products, unless made with pure rice flour, corn flour, potato flour or soy flour
- Vegetable Protein, unless made from soy or corn
- Malt or Malt Flavoring, unless derived from corn
- Modified Starch or Modified Food Starch, unless arrowroot, corn, potato, tapioca, waxy maize or maize is used
- Vegetable Gum, unless made from carob bean, locust bean, cellulose, guar, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xantham or vegetable starch
- Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids, unless you know they do not contain wheat
There is now ample information in the medical literature to indicate that a prebiotic rich diet leads to demonstrable health benefits. These include:
- Increased calcium absorption
- Stronger bones and bone density
- Enhanced immunity
- Reduced allergies and asthma in infants and children
- A lower blood triglyceride level
- Appetite and weight control
- Lower cancer factors in the gut
- Other benefits, including an increased sense of well being
So, how and why is gluten-free good for those of us with RA? There have been some reports that gluten-free can help lower inflammation, and help reduce further damage on the joints. According to John Hopkins Medicine "Following a gluten-free vegan diet appears to be an effective way of reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke in people with rheumatoid arthritis". A study was done to determine how this works. The study took patients with RA and spilt them into two groups, one that went gluten-free and no meant, the other was a control group. The patients stuck with the diet for a year, and afterwards the results showed that they had lost an average of 9lbs, reduced their BMI, lowered their cholesterol, and had a higher level of a certain antibody that helps protect the the buildup of plaque in the arteries. You can read the entire study HERE I also found this great blog that has more info on gluten-free and RA, and some yummy recipes that are gluten-free. You can read more about it HERE
It seems that overtime, gluten-free can be beneficial to those with RA. It's mostly used to treat Celiac disease, and it was found that 26% of those with RA, also have Celiac disease. One study claimed that if Celiac is in your family, or your have RA, you could go gluten-free to prevent that from happening. I'm still debating on whether or not to go gluten-free. I know it has worked very well for many people, so it could be a great consideration. If you are considering starting ANY diet, always talk with your doctor about it first, some diets could interfere with medications or health problems.