Originally published February 26 2014
Children with rheumatoid arthritis may experience relief by going gluten-free: study
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A silent epidemic known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), which is now believed to afflict nearly 300,000 children under the age of 18, could be the result of undiagnosed gluten sensitivity or even celiac disease (CD) in some children, suggests a little-known study published in the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology (SJG). Researchers from King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia discovered that children with JRA who also show signs of CD may experience dramatic improvements after starting a gluten-free diet.
These same children may also experience dramatic symptom reductions after cutting wheat and wheat-based foods out of their diets, an outcome observed in at least one child who showed clear markers of CD during the study. According to the research, this child, who had anti-endomysium antibodies (AEA) in conjunction with a CD diagnosis, showed improvements in both growth parameter and articular symptoms upon adoption of a gluten-free diet.
This reduction in articular symptoms, a designation that collectively marks the types of joint pain experienced by sufferers of JRA, suggests that gluten itself could be the actual cause of these symptoms, and that cutting it out could help all children with JRA experience relief. Though the Saudi study focuses specifically on JRA sufferers who also show signs of CD, the fact that eliminating gluten addressed JRA symptoms directly points to much wider therapeutic potential.
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet at Huddinge University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, procured even stronger evidence of this in a study which they conducted two years prior. Published in the peer-reviewed journal Rheumatology, their groundbreaking research revealed that the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in general respond well to a diet free of gluten.
"The data provide evidence that dietary modification may be of clinical benefit for certain RA patients, and that this benefit may be related to a reduction in immunoreactivity to food antigens eliminated by the change in diet," the researchers wrote.
Modern wheat varieties structurally different than 'heritage' wheat, which did not cause disease While neither study pinpoints which came first, the RA or the CD, or whether one causes the other, both studies suggest that wheat and gluten consumption is probably not the best dietary choice for sufferers of RA and JRA. This is especially true due to the fact that modern, hybridized wheat varieties contain altered proteins and unique antigens, which some say is a major driver behind the sharp rise in gluten intolerance and celiac disease in the industrialized world.
"The astounding list of problems we have with modern wheat is not due to an increase in gluten content," claims Dr. William Davis, author of The New York Times (NYT) bestseller Wheat Belly. "It is due to other changes, including:" "[a]ltered structure of the gliadin proteins," "[c]hange in the structure of wheat germ agglutinin" and "[u]nique antigens (allergy- and immune-stimulating proteins)."
Studies linking the origins of both RA and JRA to chronic gut problems further suggest that, at best, consumption of modern wheat and wheat derivatives exacerbates a health condition that science shows is already a product of gut inflammation. At worst, these chronic joint diseases are the product of an ever-evolving food supply that is increasingly modified, contaminated and generally harmful to human health.
"Gluten is only one of the reasons to fear wheat, since it triggers a host of immune diseases like celiac, rheumatoid arthritis, and gluten encephalopathy (dementia from wheat)," adds Dr. Davis. "Beyond gluten, there are over 1000 other proteins in wheat that also have potential for odd or unexpected responses. You might say that wheat is a perfectly crafted Frankengrain that almost appears like it was created to exert maximum health damage in the most desirable, irresistible form possible."
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