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Gluten Sensitivity – A Potential Cause for Fibromyalgia

Does Gluten Cause Fibromyalgia?

Does gluten cause fibromyalgia? The short answer is yes, but first let’s dive into what fibromyalgia actually is. Fibromyalgia is a condition often times associated with severe and debilitating muscle, tendon, and soft tissue pain pain. The disease is also often times referred to as:

  • Myalgia
  • Myofascitis
  • Fibromyositis
  • Fibrositis

Many patients get this diagnosis when suffering with chronic pain syndromes, but it is important to realize that fibromyalgia is actually a disease that starts in the central nervous system. As a matter of fact studies show that 66% of patients with a fibro diagnosis don’t actually have the disease, they have other forms of inflammatory pain diseases. This is important to understand because patients with fibromyalgia typically don’t respond to anti-inflammatory supplements or medicines very well.

A recent research study found that patients with fibromyalgia responded extremely well to a gluten free diet. The abstract of the study is below.


Fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome is a disabling clinical condition of unknown cause, and only symptomatic treatment with limited benefit is available. Gluten sensitivity that does not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for celiac disease (CD) is increasingly recognized as a frequent and treatable condition with a wide spectrum of manifestations that overlap with the manifestations of FM, including chronic musculoskeletal pain, asthenia, and irritable bowel syndrome. The aim of this report was to describe 20 selected patients with FM without CD who improved when placed on a gluten-free diet. An anti-transglutaminase assay, duodenal biopsy, and HLA typing were performed in all cases. CD was ruled out by negative anti-transglutaminase assay results and absence of villous atrophy in the duodenal biopsy. All patients had intraepithelial lymphocytosis without villous atrophy. Clinical response was defined as achieving at least one of the following scenarios: remission of FM pain criteria, return to work, return to normal life, or the discontinuation of opioids. The mean follow-up period was 16 months (range 5-31). This observation supports the hypothesis that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be an underlying cause of FM syndrome.

SourceRheumatol Int. 2014 Apr 12.

Other Studies Confirm A Gluten-Fibromyalgia Connection

Several other research findings have made a connection between a gluten free diet and the relief of fibromyalgia pain syndrome.

  1. Arthritis Res Ther. 2014; 16(6): 505.
  2. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2012 Sep; 47(8-9): 914–919.
  3. BMC Gastroenterol. 2013; 13: 157.

For more information on how to overcome fibromyalgia, read No Grain No Pain. You can also listen to this interview with world leading fibro expert, Dr. David Brady. And next time someone asks you the question “Does gluten cause fibromyalgia?”, make sure you share this article with them.

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