Can a gluten-free diet help reduce signs and symptoms of polymyositis?

Answers from April Chang-Miller, M.D.

Polymyositis (pol-e-my-o-SY-tis) is a rare muscle disease. A few studies that looked at small numbers of people with polymyositis over a number of years found that a gluten-free diet was linked to symptom reduction.

Without stronger evidence, though, having polymyositis doesn't mean you need to cut out gluten — unless you also have celiac disease.

In celiac disease, an abnormal immune system reaction keeps your small intestine from absorbing gluten, which is a protein in wheat, rye and barley. Eating these grains invariably causes digestive distress, as does eating processed foods containing gluten. A gluten-free diet is the basic requirement for living with celiac disease.

Jan. 20, 2017 See more Expert Answers