AAN: Gluten-Free Diet May Help Cut Pain in Gluten Neuropathy

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Patients with painful gluten neuropathy had a significantly worse Mental Health Index-5 score at presentation.
Patients with painful gluten neuropathy had a significantly worse Mental Health Index-5 score at presentation.

HealthDay News — For patients with gluten neuropathy, following a strict gluten-free diet is associated with significantly reduced odds of peripheral neuropathic pain, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 21 to 27 in Los Angeles.

Panagiotis Zis, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recruited 60 patients with gluten neuropathy attending a specialist gluten/neurology clinic. Fifty-five percent of the patients had pain.

The researchers observed no significant differences in terms of age, gender, neuropathy severity, and neuropathy type for patients with painful and not painful gluten neuropathy.

The likelihood of being on a strict gluten-free diet was significantly increased for patients with painless gluten neuropathy (55.6 versus 21.2 percent). Patients with painful gluten neuropathy had a significantly worse Mental Health Index-5 (MHI-5) score at presentation. Following a strict gluten-free diet was associated with 88.7 percent reduced odds of peripheral neuropathic pain after adjustment for age, gender, and MHI-5.

"These findings are exciting because it might mean that a relatively simple change in diet could help alleviate painful symptoms tied to gluten neuropathy," Zis said in a statement. "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."

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