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  • Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Diet Likely Improves Neuropathic Pain in Patients with Gluten Neuropathy

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A strict gluten-free diet might substantially reduce rates of peripheral neuropathic pain in patients with gluten neuropathy.


    Caption: Image: CC--Thanh Liêm

    Celiac.com 09/12/2018 - Many people with celiac disease develop peripheral neuropathy, also known as gluten neuropathy. A team of researchers recently set out to determine rates of neuropathic pain in patients with seemingly idiopathic peripheral neuropathy and gluten sensitivity, and to make note of any contributing factors. They included patients with positive antigliadin, endomysial, and/or transglutaminase antibodies, with or without enteropathy.

    The research team included P Zis, PG Sarrigiannis, DG Rao, and M Hadjivassiliou. They are affiliated with the Academic Department of Neurosciences, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Rd, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.



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    They invited all consecutive patients with gluten neuropathy attending a specialist gluten/neurology clinic to participate in the study. They used the DN4 questionnaire and the visual analog scale to assess pain levels. They used the Overall Neuropathy Limitations Scale to assess the severity of neuropathy, along with the Mental Health Index (MHI-5) to assess patients' general mental health status.

    A total of 33 out of 60 patients with gluten neuropathy showed neuropathic pain. The team found no significant differences between the painful, and the non-painful groups in terms of age, gender, neuropathy severity and neuropathy type. 

    Over half of patients with painless gluten neuropathy followed a strict gluten-free diet, compared with just 21.2% of those with painful neuropathy. Patients with painful gluten neuropathy also showed significantly worse MHI-5 scores. 

    After adjusting for age, gender and MHI-5 scores, multivariate analysis showed that, strict gluten-free diet lowered the odds of peripheral neuropathic pain by nearly 90%.

    Most patients with gluten neuropathy commonly have neuropathic pain, which is associated with poorer mental health status. 

    A strict gluten-free diet might substantially reduce rates of peripheral neuropathic pain in patients with gluten neuropathy.

    Read more at: J Neurol. 2018 Jul 21. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-8978-5.PMID: 30032386


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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