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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.

13 Responses

  1. I believe in going gluten free for fibromyalgia. I went gluten free 4 weeks ago. My pain level went from a 10 to a 3. I was addicted to nose spray for 35 years. I no longer need it. My niece went gluten free & no more sinus infections.

  2. I’ve been gluten, dairy, soy, night shade vegetables and most meats and fruits free since February 2016 Im allergic to EVERYTHING Diagnosed a non specific celiac and told by my GI to drink Metimucil…WHEAT!!!! Can you believe it!!! Then had a 2ND GI tell me the same thing.Lost over 35pd. In 3 mo thought I was dying…out of work for 3 mo.
    Finally Found a natropath, did a private Gluten allergy test and my Gluten levels on a scale from 1- 10 was 204!!!! Off the chart. But 2 GIs say I have IBS… So no one will take me seriously! ! I do feel better and can finally go back to work but the pain In my back and body is horrible.
    My chiropractor says I look better even though my pelvis is twisted and my left leg keeps shrinking by 3inches.
    THE organic glutwn free is literally financially breaking me! AND recently my pain is so bad I’m missing work again.. I fell down Saira 1 year ago and still no one advises I get an xray to look at T5-T7 and they hurt almost to touch. I’m at a loss

    1. You may very well have IBS with Fibro. I was told by a doctor that IBS is associated with Fibro.
      I get IBS attacks and end up in a cold sweat, blood pressure drops dramatically and quickly with no warning and I go unconscious. Found a way to counteract that reaction by tightening the muscles in my arms, hands and legs slowly several times when I get to the cold sweat stage and it does something related to the vagus nerve and stops the drop in blood pressure and the blackouts. Digestive enzymes and gut health nutrients have helped greatly.

      1. Can you tell me more about the gut check work you’ve done?
        We’re just getting into this now much appreciated.

  3. Sorry that was supposed to say…I fell down a flight of stairs a year ago on my Thoracic vertebrae Thoracic 5- thoracic 7…That’s where my pain is the most felt.

    1. Hi Robert can you please elaborate as to where you have the pain in your body. Do you take anything for your pain?

  4. Hi Christina I read your comment I’m so sorry your in so much pain Unfornutaley I’m in the same boat…. Please research Andrea Kalcker PLEASE! You might have a PARASITE INFECTION…. It might be the cause of your nightmare you need to totally clean out your GUT When you say your Non specific Celiac do you mean “Non- Celiac Gluten sensitivity?? Buy the book “No Grain No Pain” on Amazon sometimes eliminating gluten isn’t enough you need to eliminate ALL GRAINS they cause lots of inflammation and totally eliminate dairy “NO COWS MILK”… I wish you all the best in your path to wellness

    1. Hi there,
      I have ibs & fibromyalgia. I have taking something to break down the biofilms in my body. I also take a spore based probiotic to get my gut healthy. I feel so much better. Also I have cut back on sugar.

  5. I was tested for food allergies in my early 20’s, and wheat was the item that I was most allergic to. At that time, however, I wasn’t experiencing any allergy symptoms.I had only taken the test to help friend who was studying nutrition. I forgot all about the test. In my late 40’s, I started feeling muscle and tendon soreness on a more and more frequent basis. It became increasingly intense over several years. Sometimes it felt like I’d just run a 10K or worked out really hard, but it also felt different – resistant, angry, metallic. I would have to stretch very gently to avoid making it worse, and stretching didn’t make it better. It seemed to come and go without any reason. It reached the point where I had to steel myself to get out of bed in the morning, and skip any physical activity more often than not.
    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and prescribed various drugs, but I kept thinking there must be a real cause. I tried all kinds of lifestyle changes and food eliminations including gluten, but it didn’t make a difference. Then I spoke to a co-worker who had celiac, and she informed me that I hadn’t cut out gluten completely or for long enough. With her help, I identified all the hidden sources of gluten and went gluten-free for the long-haul. I didn’t start to notice a change until after almost a month. Then the soreness started to subside, and within 3 months I was completely pain-free. It has been two and a half years now, and the pain has only returned 2 times; once when I ate a couple of slices of pizza to see what would happen, and the other time when I accidentally ate something with wheat in it. In both cases it took about 36 hours before the pain flared up, and it lasted for several days. A delayed effect, and one that makes it difficult to connect what you ate to how you feel. Other than those two instances, I’ve had ABSOLUTELY NO fibromyalgia symptoms, where it used to be just about every day.
    If you think about how much wheat is part of our meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts;it makes sense that our digestive process can become overloaded with it, and all the chemicals that are used in its refinement.

    I’m promoting the connection between fibromyalgia and wheat/gluten because I think many people are suffering needlessly and taking medications when a dietary change is all that’s needed. Good luck on your journey and I hope this helps.

  6. I have suffered with Fibro for over 50 years. I have not done a gluten free diet but cut back on wheat and nuts considerably. I do have a problem with nuts and corn causing shingles due to the high arginine content. This started after a severe bout of chicken pox when I was 18 years old. I started an exercise program and got an infrared sauna 4 years ago. Sauna was a blessing in disguise. After about 3 months of 5 days a week in the sauna had terrific relief from pain. Still have 2 to 3 nights a month where the pain keeps me awake all night. Could very well be related to whatever I ate. Interesting thing is that my grandmother suffered with
    this and now my 2 nieces have extremely severe gluten issues and are being tested for celiac and adrenal problems.

  7. Christina B. a GOOD Chiropractor can tell you what damage you have done your T5 and T7 without XRAY
    If you are trying to avoid Gluten and processed foods just stop buying them If you insist on GF Bread, make your own there are millions of receipes for Gluten free meals you can make from fresh ingredients sans gluten

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