Lupus Linked to Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

Claudia Pillow, Ph.D.
Claudia Pillow, Ph.D.

By Claudia Pillow, Ph.D.

There is much controversy within the lupus community about whether a gluten-free diet helps alleviate symptoms of lupus. The medical community acknowledges that some patients with lupus can also have celiac disease (an autoimmune intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley). However, the medical community has not acknowledged a link between lupus and non-celiac gluten intolerance. To understand the difference between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance, go to Food Sensitivities, Intolerances, and Allergies on The Food Philosopher’s website.

In a 2004 study in the American College of Gastroenterology (1), it was reported that 23% of patients with lupus also tested positive for antigliadin antibodies, but not celiac disease.  This type of gluten sensitivity is more common than celiac disease and it is important to understand that testing negative for celiac disease does not necessarily rule out gluten sensitivity.  In another study (2), patients were misdiagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, but were found to have non-celiac gluten intolerance. The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America acknowledges that a gluten-free diet has been found to alleviate the symptoms of non-celiac gluten intolerance (3).

May is Celiac Awareness Month but it is also Lupus Awareness Month. I wanted to share this recent research correlating lupus and non-celiac gluten intolerance and a recipe that contains food rich in omega-3 oils and antioxidants, both of which help reduce chronic pain and inflammation in the body.  Check out Claudi’as recipe, Curried Grilled Halibut.

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