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Gluten Intolerance and Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)

The autoimmune disease, SLE, is being studied in its relationship with gluten sensitivity. A recent study suggests that SLE occurs more frequently in patients with celiac disease than what is generally recognized. “This study suggests that SLE occurs far more frequently in biopsy-defined celiac disease than is currently appreciated, and detection may be more likely if the period of clinical follow-up of the celiac disease is prolonged.”


J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;42(3):252-5.

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

SLE often presents with the hallmark “malar rash”, but also causes skin rash, joint pain, and muscle pain. Laboratory testing for the disease revolves around the investigation of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) present in the blood stream. Lupus is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis because the symptoms of the two diseases are so similar. Like celiac disease, SLE is an autoimmune process. The only known cause for autoimmune disease is gluten intolerance. Research continues to mount showing that gluten sensitivity causes far more than just celiac disease. Gluten has already been linked to numerous autoimmune conditions. According to statistics, patients diagnosed with celiac disease will be diagnosed with an additional 7 autoimmune diseases in their lifetime. Unfortunately, rheumatologists everywhere ignore these facts and continue to prescribed steroids, pain killers, and DMARDS (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs). Our stance is simply this: If you have SLE and don’t know why you have SLE, rule out gluten sensitivity first. Genetic testing is cheap, non-invasive, accurate, and could very well save you from a life of prescription drugs that don’t heal you.

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