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Gluten – A Cause of Migratory Arthritis Pain

What is Migratory Arthritis?

pain in the grainThis condition falls under the auspice of autoimmune arthritis. Patients who experience migrating arthritis typically have joint pain and stiffness that moves around from joint to joint. Unlike other forms of arthritis that typically stay in one place. The symptoms can flare up periodically (come and go), and they can migrate to different locations throughout the body – hence the term migratory. Often times doctors will try to rule out autoimmune disease by running standard lab tests for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and spondyloarthritis. These tests commonly come back negative. Other generalized medical tests used to evaluate inflammation include – C-Reactive Protein (CRP), and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR). Additionally, doctors sometimes try to rule out viral and bacterial infections (Lyme disease can mimic this condition). Symptoms to look for?
  • Joint pain
  • Joint redness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Loss of joint range of motion as a result of the above symptoms
  • Muscle atrophy (loss due to reduced use)

A Condition of Exclusion Without Origin

Unfortunately, many doctors come to the diagnosis of migratory arthritis by ruling out all other forms of inflammatory joint pain. That means the patient gets a label without an answer as to why the disease started in the first place. Often times the medical solution is the prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) and in some cases the use of oral and/or injectable steroids. Neither medications address the reason the arthritis started in the first place. They only serve to mask the body’s warning that something is wrong.

Food Can Cause Joint Pain

It is no mystery that food can contribute to pain and inflammation. A recent study published in the journal, Reumatizam,(see below for info) reports a case of migratory arthritis in a woman resolving within 4 months after implementation of a gluten free diet. Gluten is one of many foods that can trigger joint pain, but not the only. Remember that eating the wrong food can trigger it. Not eating enough of the right foods can trigger it. Let’s take a look at some examples of things that can be ingested that can contribute to or help reduce pain and inflammation: Common Triggers:
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Sugar
  • GMO oils (especially corn and soy)
  • Grain (especially wheat and corn) The high omega 6 content can create an imbalance in the body’s ability to regulate inflammation.
  • Grain fed beef and farm raised fish. These animals typically have a high concentration of omega 6 fats.
  • Nightshades (eggplant, tomato, potatoes, peppers, and tobacco – smokers often suffer joint pain as a side effect to the habit)
  • Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Legumes (especially peanuts) can contain lectin compounds that commonly trigger joint inflammation.
  • Dairy
Natural Pain Reducers:
  1. Omega 3 Fats – These can be found naturally in many forms of food including grass fed beef and cold water fish.
  2. Pineapple – Pineapple contains a host of very powerful anti-inflammatory enzymes that help the body heal. When choosing this food make sure you buy it fresh. The natural enzymes are not present in canned pineapple. Make sure you buy organic. Chemical pesticides can reduce the nutrient value of the food and contribute to chronic disease.
  3. Berries – Strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, acai berries, cranberries, and blackberries contain powerful phytonutrient antioxidants that help the body control inflammation and enhance the immune systems ability to aid in healing. Make sure you are buying organic to avoid chemical residues and pesticides.
  4. Green Tea – green tea contains several types of flavonoids and polyphenols that act as antioxidants. Green tea helps the body to detoxify toxic compounds. This process helps your cells protect the DNA from free radical damage. Drink 2-3 glasses of tea daily to achieve a therapeutic effect.
  5. Beef – Yes you read that correctly! Beef has had a bad rap because of saturated fats. You must understand that not all beef is created equally. Corn fed beef (which is what most people buy in the grocery store) is very high in saturated fat and toxic chemicals. Cows on feed lots typically eat chemically laden corn. How can you expect to get healthy when eating such an unhealthy animal. Look for Grass Fed Beef. When grass fed, beef is very healthy, contains very little saturated fat, and is rich in nutrients. Grass fed beef is rich in CLA, a powerful fat that helps the body metabolize fat and lose weight. I recommend getting grass fed beef from here.
  6. Turmeric – is a natural spice commonly used in Eastern cuisine. It contains a very powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Liberal use of this spice in cooking can be of great benefit for those with chronic pain. The anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects of curcumin have been well studied making this natural compound one of natures strongest aids for pain.
  7. Garlic – This powerful allium vegetable provides strong antiinflammatory compounds. Garlic has been wildly researched to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve lymphatic flow. Using garlic liberally when cooking will provide your body with great benefit.
  8. Ginger – Ginger is a root that has traditionally been used to help relieve nausea, indigestion, and heart irregularities. It has been well researched and is a powerful antiinflammatory food. It works by blocking the enzyme cyclo oxygenase (COX). This is the same mechanism of action as commonly prescribed pain medications use.
  9. Cold Water Fish – This type of fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. New research shows that the use of EPA and DHA (natural compounds found in fish) reduces pain and inflammation more effectively than prescription NSAID pain medications. Because of polluted waters, these fish can be high in toxic metals like mercury. That is why I recommend Omega Heal as a dietary supplement or get your fish from here. This company tests their fish for toxins before selling them.
  10. Water – 66% of your body is composed of water. Even low grade chronic dehydration can contribute to a sluggish metabolism and cause a number of problems. Lack of water contributes to chronic muscle spasm, and increased blood viscosity. Both contribute to poor healing and inflammation. As a general rule of thumb, you should drink enough water so that you are having to urinate at least 3-4 times per day.
  11. Foods or Supplements Rich in Vitamin C – vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is commonly lost when we are under long term stress, consuming large quantities of caffeine, and consuming inadequate vegetables and fruits (get list here).
Source: Reumatizam. 2013;60(1):32-6. The following is a quote directly from the published article…
We report a 43-year-old female patient with migratory arthralgias as the leading symptom, fatigue, sideropenic anemia and mild intermittent diarrhoea, who was diagnosed with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Four months after introduction of gluten-free diet the patient reported no arthralgias, and complete clinical response was achieved.
Always looking out for you, Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior

4 Responses

  1. Buying organic does not avoid chemical residues or pesticides. USDA Organic Certification standards include a lengthly list of approved chemicals that are highly toxic. “Natural” doesn’t mean it is non-toxic.

  2. I found it very interesting that food can contribute to pain or inflammation. I had no idea that it could, which could explain how my mom is having trouble with her knees after certain meals. Thank you for the information about how several foods like hydrogenated fats, sugar, grain, nightshade plants, and legumes could contribute to joint pain besides gluten.

  3. This explains the weird moving joint pain which is terrible especially at night..I am celiac and gluten free but recently started having corn tortillas as a snack lunch time. Ifound after many years of gluten free I now also cannot tolerat e corn,dry beans and peas as well.Also very small amount of glutenfree bread products.Oatmeal is out too. even so called glutenfree well as nightshade family for other reasons and most fermented foods.My diet is quite limited

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