How Can a Gluten-Free Diet Help With Fibromyalgia?
Most people have heard the word gluten, but don’t really understand what it is. Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley and rye that makes the dough sticky. Sadly, that chewy protein that makes bagels, breads and pastas taste so good is actually poison to a significant portion of the population — up to an estimated 29 percent of Americans. Eating anything with gluten in it may cause these sensitive people to have an immune system reaction.
In simple terms, the body is unable to break down gluten into soluble proteins. So instead of metabolizing it correctly, the body treats it as a foreign invader and produces antibodies to combat it. Though the antibodies are only trying to defend the body, that over-reaction may cause immune reactivity, autoimmunity and inflammation leading to dozens of things. Oddly enough, that reaction can take many forms and masquerade as dozens of other things — skin diseases, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders and other undiagnosed conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia!
In many cases, fibromyalgia patients symptoms may be caused by or just complicated by a gluten sensitivity. Such sensitivity is difficult to detect through blood tests or other medical examinations, so the best way to find out for sure is to cut gluten out of your diet completely for a while. It does mean you’ll have to cut out lots of tasty options for a while like cookies, cakes, pasta and bread, until you know for sure if you have a sensitivity. The good news is, that with so many Americans suffering from gluten sensitivity, there are many gluten free products available — which means that you can still have that muffin you just have to have every morning … it just has to be gluten-free.
Grains are used in the processing of many ingredients and are almost universally present in boxed or pre-packaged foods, so it will be necessary to seek out hidden gluten. The following terms found on food labels may mean that there is gluten in the product.
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 vegetable gums are carob bean gum, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, gum arabic, gum aracia, gum tragacanth, xanthan gum, or vegetable starch
Soy Sauce or Soy Sauce Solids, unless you know they do not contain wheat
Once you have started, there are supplements you should take to provide all the nutrients and major antioxidants — things like fish oil, multivitamins, coenzyme Q10. Additional steps include adding supplements like quercetin and acidophilus.