Monday, 3 December 2018

Gluten-Neuropathy: Fact Or Fable?

Today's post from (see link below) returns to the subject of the link between gluten and nerve damage. The article suggests that their relatively small-scale study shows results that prove that link and suggests that this is proof enough that a gluten-free diet has every chance of helping people with the condition, or preventing it happening in the first place. The problem is that this argument has been going on for years - this is nothing new - the only thing that remains is to prove (pretty much without doubt) that gluten is a major contributor to neuropathy. This American study doesn't even come close to proving anything, although the evidence suggests that reducing gluten in your diet will help prevent or minimise the risk of neuropathy. Certainly patient evidence suggests that cutting out gluten will help but the evidence is still pretty weak in scientific research terms. Apart from all that, the article proposes that 'a relatively simple change in diet' will help to reduce symptoms. Now anyone who has ever tried to reduce gluten in their diet will know that it is anything but 'relatively simple' - it's hard work and requires self-discipline. All in all, we can only conclude that the jury's still out on the gluten-neuropathy question.

Gluten-free diet may help people with neuropathic pain
Date:February 28, 2018 Source:American Academy of Neurology

A strict gluten-free diet may help protect against the nerve pain that some people with gluten sensitivity experience, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018.

"These findings are exciting because it might mean that a relatively simple change in diet could help alleviate painful symptoms tied to gluten neuropathy," said lead author Panagiotis Zis, MD, PhD, of the University of Sheffield in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "While our study shows an association between a self-reported gluten-free diet and less pain, it does not show that one causes the other."

Gluten sensitivity has been associated with peripheral neuropathy -- a condition in which a person's peripheral nerves become damaged, often causing weakness, numbness and pain, typically in the hands and feet. When a person has nerve pain that can't otherwise be explained, and has a sensitivity to gluten, the diagnosis might be gluten neuropathy.

The study involved 60 people with an average age of 70 who had gluten neuropathy. They were asked about the intensity of their pain, their other neuropathy symptoms, their mental health and whether they followed a strict gluten-free diet. A total of 33 of the participants had pain with their neuropathy, or 55 percent.

People who were following a gluten-free diet were more likely to be free of pain than people who did not follow a strict gluten-free diet. A total of 56 percent of those without pain were on a gluten-free diet, compared to 21 percent of those with pain. After adjusting for age, sex and mental health status, researchers found that people following the strict diet were 89 percent less likely to have pain with their neuropathy than people not following the diet.

The study also found that people with painful gluten neuropathy scored significantly worse on the mental health assessment, which has a range of zero to 100 with 100 being best. Those with painful gluten neuropathy had an average score of 76, as opposed to the average score of 87 for those with painless gluten neuropathy.

"This study is promising because it shows that a gluten-free diet may help lower the risk of pain for people with gluten neuropathy," Zis said. "More research is needed to confirm these results and to determine whether the gluten-free diet led to the reduction in pain."

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Materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cite This Page:
American Academy of Neurology. "Gluten-free diet may help people with neuropathic pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2018. .

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