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Will an Allergen-Free Diet Help Your Joint Pain?

One reader found that following an allergen-free diet without dairy, eggs or gluten eliminated joint pain. Will it work for you?
Will an Allergen-Free Diet Help Your Joint Pain?
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Would you like to find a way to reduce or control your joint pain? One of the fundamental principles for people with arthritis is to keep moving, but that can be hard when your knees creak or your hips hurt. One reader reports that adopting an allergen-free diet made a big difference. 

An Allergen-Free Diet Against Pain:

Q. I wanted to share an experience I had when I radically changed my diet for a month. At 48, I had what I would call mild joint pain noticeable when getting up off the floor or doing certain yoga movements. I thought it was just normal aging until I spent three weeks at a clinic in Switzerland researching their Alzheimer’s disease protocol for my father.

They tested me for foods that were creating an inflammatory response and treated me with vitamins and homeopathic remedies. I was able to strictly adhere to the diet and supplements for a month after I returned home. One day, I was amazed to realize that all of my joint pain was gone. I could bend over, squat, stand up and stretch with absolutely no pain! I had eliminated gluten, dairy and eggs, which were identified as my food allergies. What kind of research is going on in this area? My experience was proof to me that there is a link between an allergen-free diet and eliminations of pain.

Gluten Sensitivity Contributes to Joint Pain:

A. Thanks for a fascinating story. Some researchers examining non-celiac gluten sensitivity have found it linked to joint pain as well as brain fog and other symptoms (World Journal of Gastroenterology, April 14, 2018). There may be a connection with autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, it may be difficult to distinguish non-celiac gluten sensitivity from irritable bowel syndrome (Nutrients, March 6, 2020). Some healthcare professionals warn that following a gluten-free diet is not appropriate for everyone (Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, July 1, 2019).

The connection between food allergies and arthritis is controversial. Some rodent research suggests that milk allergies might contribute, but human studies have not confirmed this (Nutrients, Oct. 15, 2020). On the other hand, some doctors have published a convincing case in which dairy allergy produced symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (Revista de Gastroenterologia del Peru, Apr-June 2020). When this child followed an allergen-free diet, the symptoms disappeared.

Learn More:

If you are interested in a variety of strategies for joint pain, you may may find our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis of value. In this online resource, we discuss medications as well as anti-inflammatory foods and home remedies. Some people prefer to hold a book rather than look online. For them, we offer Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.

You may also wish to listen to a few interviews we have done. In one, a mother and a doctor describe treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis with diet and supplements as well as medications. It is Show 911: Leaky Gut and an Immune System Run Amok (Archive). In the other, rheumatologist Beth Jonas MD discusses effective ways to manage arthritis pain. It is Show 1140: How Can You Manage Arthritis Pain?

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Alternatives for Arthritis
$5.99

This eGuide describes nondrug alternatives for arthritis with the latest scientific studies to document anti-inflammatory activity. This comprehensive online guide (too long to print) adds the science behind ancient healing traditions.

Alternatives for Arthritis
Citations
  • Losurdo G et al, "Extra-intestinal manifestations of non-celiac gluten sensitivity: An expanding paradigm." World Journal of Gastroenterology, April 14, 2018. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i14.1521
  • Barone M et al, "Evaluation of non-celiac gluten sensitivity in patients with previous diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial." Nutrients, March 6, 2020. DOI: 10.3390/nu12030705
  • Diez-Sampedro A et al, "A Gluten-Free Diet, Not an Appropriate Choice without a Medical Diagnosis." Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, July 1, 2019. DOI: 10.1155/2019/2438934
  • Dey M et al, "Beverages in rheumatoid arthritis: What to prefer or to avoid." Nutrients, Oct. 15, 2020. DOI: 10.3390/nu12103155
  • Munoz-Urribarri AB et al, "Juvenile “idiopathic†arthritis (JIA) as a manifestation of food allergy. Case study." Revista de Gastroenterologia del Peru, Apr-June 2020.
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