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Does Anyone Know?
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I was wondering if anyone knew the mechanisms of action that causes ingesting gluten to lead to things like joint and muscle pain with one glutening. I could see over a long period of time, but how does it do it all at once? I don't know if this is known, but I thought I would just ask my question anyway.

Thanks.

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my only guess is that the antibodies produced during the digestion of the gluten lash out at everything they come in contact with.

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Great question. I hope someone can find a scientific article with some solid facts, but I don't know if research has gone quite that far... at least the placebo controlled/double blind types of studies.

Based on what I've read, I have a couple of guesses. Note the word guesses. Sorry. (They aren't totally blind guesses, though!)

-Inflammation. We know that gluten causes inflammation of the gut. Having an auto-immune disease means that we react (and over-react?) to normally "safe" substances. This is an article on inflammation in general. I don't know the mechanism, but I wouldn't be surprised if the inflammation does not limit itself to the gut.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/is-your-body-burning-up-w_b_269717.html

-This might be more controversial, but intestinal permeability ("leaky gut") could play a role - substances cross over the gut barrier that are not supposed to, leading to multi-systemic issues. Traditional western medicine is starting to recognize and research intestinal permeability, and some studies indicate that inflammation leads to permeability. That pretty much "allows" the gluten dominos to start to fall and reach other body parts.

-This article: http://charlotteceliacconnection.com/files/Celiac_Mechanisms_Neurologic_Review_Cellular.pdf is a bit scientific, but it explores the neurologic connection in Celiac. What it comes down to is that there is a lot they don't know. It's not about joint/muscle pain per se, but more related to brain/nerves:

"While advances have been made in understanding the pathogenesis of the intestinal lesions in celiac disease, the patho- genesis of the neurologic manifestations has yet to be elucidated. Current data point to molecular mimicry and intermolecular help as two possible mechanisms that could explain how ingested gluten can result in damage to the neuraxis." In other words, they are starting to understand fully how the gut gets messed up, but they're trying to figure out why the rest of it happens.

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Thanks for your reply. I was suspicious that the answer was going to be that we really don't know yet how it happens. But since I was having intense joint pain from being glutened, I thought I would ask and see if I was surprised that we did know. Thanks for looking into that for me, I will give the articles you suggested a look.

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    • I react to both wheat and barley.  I've opted to just go completely gluten free, for the sake of simplicity and my sanity.  I don't have a diagnosis of celiac disease, but I strongly suspect it.  Unfortunately, I'm not willing to endure the misery of staying on gluten long enough to pursue further testing.  I just know I need to avoid the gluten grains, so I do.  
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