Gluten free diet reduces inflammation
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Martha had problems with pains around her body. These pains seemed to go from one location to the next, so there was no direct injury point or damage to one localised area that we could find. The doctors thought she might have fibromyalgia, which was of course possible.
The only test from her doctor that showed anything was her inflammation markers. She seemed to have a lot of inflammation in her body but at that point nobody knew why.
We needed more tests to see if we could find the source of her inflammation. We tested her gut, allergies and auto-immune markers. She also had a scan that showed where she was hotter than she should be in her body. The test results showed marked inflammation in her small intestine, and the scan also showed heat in her intestines and random patches around her body in the arms and legs, lower back and shoulders (where she was currently feeling the pain).
Even though we didn’t know the cause of the inflammation, we knew her inflamed digestive system was the source. No foods tested reactive, but nonetheless I suggested that until we had more clues, she should follow an anti-inflammatory diet which was to avoid gluten, dairy, sugar and nightshade family foods.
After only three weeks on this diet, Martha’s pains had decreased by about 70%, so we continued with this diet for another three weeks. After this time Martha said the pains were completely gone.
However, I recommended she remain on the diet for a further three weeks to be certain, because she had a look that suggested there was still a tiny bit of pain, but she didn’t want to admit it so she could get back to her old way of eating. I impressed on her the importance of fully clearing the inflammation before doing a re-challenge and she was happy to do so after our chat.
After the three weeks Martha was still feeling good, so now came time to reintroduce each food one at a time (every 3 days) starting with the nightshade foods such as tomatoes (I asked her what she missed the most and tomatoes were it). We then introduced the others, one at a time, provided she could go three days without pain. I advised to leave the gluten, dairy and sugar foods to the very last, which she did.
When Martha got to trial dairy, she had a few twinges, so I suggested staying with her core diet for a few days till that settled before starting the next substance. Sugar was next and some more few twinges; she said it was vague and might not have been anything.
She chose to trial gluten on a weekend where she had some events that included eating lunch with friends on both days.
The first day she ate pasta and was in agony shortly afterwards. Ironically, she ate pasta again the second day (as if it was her last meal) and it really was (for pasta anyway) as she was so sick and in pain, that she vowed to never eat pasta again. I said that after she healed that she could possibly eat gluten free pasta, but because it left such a bad memory she said she won’t go back to any pasta at all.
So gluten was the culprit even though all Martha’s tests showed no gluten intolerance or allergy – but there was no doubt she was definitely sensitive to gluten.
Later, thinking her sensitivity may have only been to wheat, Martha tried gluten in a couple of other forms such as rye bread, but the consequences were just as bad for her.
She knew what she had to do. By going 100% gluten free, Martha had no more pain in her body (unless she bumped herself).