- Neuropathic pain in patients may be reduced by following a gluten-free diet.
- Patients who followed a strict gluten-free diet had less nerve pain compared to those who did not follow the diet
- Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where the nerves are damaged and results in numbness of feet and hands. This condition is associated with gluten sensitivity.
Neuropathic pain in patients may be reduced with the help of a strict gluten-free diet, finds a study. Some gluten-sensitive individuals experienced more nerve pain compared to those who were not sensitive to gluten diet.
"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."
‘Neuropathic pain may be reduced in patients who follow a strict gluten-free diet.’
Peripheral neuropathy is associated with gluten sensitivity. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where the peripheral nerves are damaged that result in numbness of hand and feet. If a person is gluten sensitive and experiences nerve pain, then the condition is known as gluten neuropathy
The researchers conducted a study, which involved about 60 gluten neuropathy patients with an average age of 70 years. They were analyzed based on the intensity of their pain, their mental health, other neuropathy symptoms and whether they followed a strict gluten-free diet or not. About 55 percent of them suffered from neuropathy pain.
Individuals who followed a strict gluten-free diet were free from pain compared to those who did not follow the diet. About 56 percent of them were on a gluten-free diet and did not experience any pain whereas, 21 percent of them suffered from pain. The researchers conducted the study on people with different age, sex and mental status and concluded that, people following the strict diet were 89 percent less likely to have neuropathy pain than people not following the diet.
The scientists also found that patients with painful gluten neuropathy scored very less in their mental assessment test, which ranged from 0 to 100 with 100 being the best. The average score among them was 76, whereas, individuals with painless gluten neuropathy had an average score of 87.
The lead author Zis, said that the study was promising only because it showed that gluten-free diet may reduce pain in patients with gluten neuropathy. He also said that more research is needed to determine whether gluten-free diet reduces the neuropathy pain or not.
The findings of the study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018.
About Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition which is caused due to the damage to the nerves that carry signal to the brain and spinal cord. The reasons for nerve damage are AIDS injury, vitamin B12 deficiency, exposure to toxins and diabetes mellitus. The most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are tingling, numbness and burning sensation in the toes and fingers. Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) helps in the diagnosis of the condition. The neuropathic pain can be controlled with medications.