Can Gluten Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain?

Can Gluten Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain?

Something we often hear is bad for us is Gluten but do you know why?

Gluten and joint pain is something that has been linked together. In this article I will be talking about What is gluten and why is it bad, does gluten cause inflammation, potential benefits from not eating gluten, how to eliminate gluten and also alternatives to gluten.

What Is Gluten And Why Is It Bad

Most of you might think that gluten is flour made out of wheat, Gluten is actually different proteins that are found wheat, it is however also found in rye, barley and triticale. Be aware that gluten also comes in different forms and is often mixed with other grains such as spelt, graham and durum.

Gluten is something that a lot of people are sensitive to and this can show itself in various different ways such as stomach pains, tiredness, inflammation.

The main reason I believe that gluten is bad for us is because it does not contain any essential nutrients for our bodies, what so ever. If you have Rheumatoid arthritis or any other auto immune disease gluten is something you should stay away from.

Does Gluten Cause Inflammation

The answer is yes. Does gluten cause joint inflammation? The answer is yes!

But why?

This question does not have a perfect answer. Studies have however shown that gluten affects your immune system and it triggers it, especially in case were auto immune disease are found, to attack itself. Which then will lead to increased inflammation and pain.


So on the topic of things to avoid when you have rheumatoid arthritis gluten is a big one.

You are already suffering from inflammation due to your immune system attacking itself, you should not be adding food that will increase this event.

Benefits From Not Eating Gluten

The first thing you might notice is that you do not get as bloated or gassy. Perhaps your bowel movements will change.

Gluten can also be a contributor to you feeling tired, especially after eating it, so there might just be some more energy coming your way by staying clear of gluten.

Your immune system and over all health might improve, due to the fact that, gluten is a high inflammatory food and will cause your immune system to go into full battle mode.
By eliminating this you will notice a difference in your overall health and also with your Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or other auto immune diseases.

How To Eliminate Gluten

Since gluten intolerance is very common, finding gluten free products will not be hard. Most products will be labeled “Gluten Free”. Home made food will always be the best, you know what goes into your food and you will not be expecting any unwelcome surprises. When purchasing pre made, gluten can be found in, but is not limited to, soups and sauces, bread and other baked items, breakfast cereals and of course pasta.

But by reading the back of the label you should be able to avoid any gluten.

Keep an eye out for Barley, Wheat and Rye. Those are the three big names.

Alternatives To Gluten

You will always be able to find gluten free bread. I prefer to purchase my bread in the organic food stores as they usually come with sourdough and sugar free etc. Might be a tad pricier but it will do wonders for your body.

Pasta is also something that will be easy to find alternatives to. You will be able to find gluten free pasta in pretty much any grocery store, buckwheat or rice pasta are two good alternatives. When I buy pasta I buy either gluten free or if I can find it bean pasta.

Instead of couscous you can try quinoa, which is also full of good nutrients for your body.

If you are intending to bake, do not worry, there are alternatives for flour as well. I am a big fan of almond flour as it is simple to use, you can find it anywhere and it gives a really nice flavor to anything and everything.

When making sauces flour and water is commonly used as a thickener. However,. Kuzu root can be used instead. You can read more about kuzu root in my article about enzyme rich food

If you love your chocolates, there are gluten free alternatives even here.
My to go to chocolate is the vego hazelnut chocolate bar. It is completely gluten free, it is also vegan and fair trade.

It is however not sugar free. So do not over indulge as sugar also is a big no no for auto-immune diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis. You can find the product in a lot of organic food stores but it can also be purchased online. You can find the product here.

You will be able to find alternatives by either researching or using your own imagination, your health must however come first and if staying away from gluten and putting some effort into alternatives then it might just be worth the few hours when you can gain a life.


By trying to eliminate gluten from your diet, you will notice a big difference in not just your food and how you feel but also in your joints. I did not think that I experienced any changes until I went back on gluten. Oh boy, I felt instantly tired,
My stomach started bloating and the next day my joints were very sore and painful.

Excluding gluten alone, will not take away all your symptoms or your pain but it will make a difference.

A noticeable difference.

To be able to live a life free from symptoms there are more steps to follow, just little things to do that will add up into one.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it will help you. If you have any questions or comments, please drop them down below and I will get back to you.

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. I so agree with you that gloom can cause rheumatoid arthritis pain. I myself have problems when eating gluten. Especially since gloom seems to stick where it goes. My sister has celiac disease, if she even gets near gluten it’s pain all over the body.

    Glad that you are discussing this important topic because still, not many people are aware of it. Do you find that after your body is cleared of gluten a lot of issues clear up?

    I know my sister does, as so do I.

    1. Hi Jagi,
      I am sorry to hear. Yes Celiac disease and gluten is a very bad combination. 

      Yes it does, it takes perhaps a week or so, but a few days after stopping eating gluten my joints feel better and my whole body has more energy.

  2. Extraordinary! I heard of gluten intolerance causes digestive problems but didn’t realize it can gluten can cause rheumatoid arthritis pain. Then, for some reason, I thought it was only from wheat products. So it’s good that you’ve explained that it can also be found in Rye and Barley. How fast can one expect the rheumatoid arthritis pain to subside after cutting out gluten from their diet?

    1. Hi Paul,
      The inflammation caused by gluten would have to be individually assessed. With me it will take a few days before I start to feel changes in my body. With Rheumatoid arthritis however, there is several things that might contribute to the inflammation and to really be able to experience the full effects one should avoid other foods as well as adding foods to their diet.

  3. This is a really helpful article. I really don’t know that gluten has no nutritional value whatsoever and it can also cause several numbers of complications. In this article I’ve learnt how to do away with gluten and other of its related forms. This is a wonderful review on this article. Thank you. Good job. 

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate you taking your time to read and comment.

  4. You know, this a very good article topic. I have not gone yet for a medical analysis but I have not noticed some parts of my hands and bone structures, which give a sharp pain or have weakness when trying to do things and beginning to think that it might be the beginnings of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I used to eat and still love white bread every now and then.

    Until that is I found out by a hair analysis that I had gluten intolerance,  which probably explains the symptoms I have been experiencing.

    I used to put it down to ‘office overuse symptoms’ (typing too much)…but it looks like as you stated in your post, that, gluten could be the reason and diet choices are the solution.

    I already know a few of the food alternatives that you have added but have never heard of Kuzu root, I currently use Arrow root (AKA Cassava) as a thickner for our soup and wonder if this is similar?

    1. Hi, I am glad you got it checked out, sorry to hear that you are gluten intolerant. It is something very common. Yes it could be a contributor to the symptoms you are experiencing. 

      I believe that is it similar yes.

  5. Awesome article. I never heard of the side-effects of gluten before. Your analysis is comprehensive and complete. I enjoyed reading it.

    I will follow the solutions that you’ve provided to eliminate gluten from our diet. However, as you know that in many different countries food types and habits are different. What would you suggest to test whether gluten is available in the food or not.

    Thanks for sharing this article, as it provides good and strong informative points.

    1. Thank you so much for reading.
      Most times it will be on the list of ingredients if gluten is in the product or not. If you are eating out the easiest thing is to ask the staff for gluten free options. 
      If you go of gluten and then accidentally eat some you will be able to tell by the way your body is reacting. 

      I hope this was helpful.

  6. To be honest, I haven’t really thought much about gluten intake. Maybe it’s because I think I’m too young to be affected by it, hehe. Have you ever heard combining turmeric, honey, ginger, and lemons together for a super powerful anti-inflammatory tonic? I used to take this whenever I started to get cold symptoms and it would knock it out completely before major symptoms arrived. So I’m guessing because all four ingredients are great inflammatory reducers, this may be a perfect solution to help balance gluten levels.

    1. Hi Vince,

      I do take all those ingredients pretty much on a daily basis, for the same reason that you mentioned, they are highly anti inflammatory. This will of course assist your body but it will not knock the symptoms out. Especially not if you are having it on a daily basis, it might help if you have gluten once and again but you will still feel the effects of it.

  7. Hi Alexandra,Thank you for sharing such an informative on gluten and rheumatoid arthritis pain. I only know that most people are allergic to gluten but did not know that it plays a major role for inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis pain. Will share your post to my father. We will see if my dad will avoid gluten. We are from Thailand, every dish has gluten lol but I am sure I can make him some dishes that are gluten free. 🙂

    1. Sawasdee kaa!

      Because people with rheumatoid arthritis already suffers from your immune system attacking itself having gluten, a protein that causes your immune system to attack itself, will increase your inflammation.

      Thank you for sharing, I hope he will at least try it.

  8. Hello and thank you for this informative article Alexandra. I’ve been researching about gluten free diet for quite a while now and that is how I stumbled upon your article. Never heard about corelation between gluten and arthritis but it does not surprise me at all.

    I will definitely stay gluten free definitely after getting the info from you. Thank you.

    Are you in pharmacy by the way?

    Best regards,


    1. Hi,

      I am glad  you enjoyed reading the article about gluten free and rheumatoid arthritis. I am not in pharmacy at all but I have a lot of experience with this subjects as I myself have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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