Polymyositis (pol-e-mi-o-SI-tis) is a rare muscle disease that usually affects adults. 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 eliminate gluten from your diet — unless you also have celiac disease, which may be more common in people with polymyositis than in the general population.
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.
If you have polymyositis and you develop persistent iron deficiency anemia with weight loss and frequent bouts of diarrhea, your doctor may recommend testing for celiac disease.
Jun. 07, 2011
- Barton SH, et al. Celiac disease and autoimmunity in the gut and elsewhere. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2008;37:411.
- Ebert EC. Review article: The gastrointestinal complications of myositis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2010;31:359.
- Hadjvassiliou M, et al. Myopathy associated with gluten sensitivity. Muscle Nerve. 2007;35:443.
- Orbach H, et al. Autoantibody screen in inflammatory myopathies: High prevalence of antibodies to gliadin. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2009;1173:174.
- Farrell RJ, et al. Celiac disease and refractory celiac disease. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..00104-9&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&uniqId=255813318-2#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..00104-9. Accessed May 27, 2011.
- Briani C, et al. Celiac disease: From gluten to autoimmunity. Autoimmunity Reviews. 2008;7:644.
- Selva-O'Callaghan A, et al. Celiac disease and antibodies associated with celiac disease in patients with inflammatory myopathy. Muscle Nerve. 2007;35:49.