Is There a Link Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Gluten?

psoriatic-arthritis-celiac-diseasePsoriatic arthritis and celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, are both autoimmune diseases. Research suggests that people with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to have celiac disease and may benefit from a gluten-free diet.

  • Adrienne Stinson, Medical News Today 1

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) occurs in people with psoriasis and causes painful inflammation of the joints. In people with celiac disease (CD), eating foods that contain gluten can trigger a range of digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. This article examines the link between gluten, CD, and PsA. It also looks at PsA and CD in more detail and explain how to adopt a gluten-free diet.

Studies have found a strong link between CD and psoriatic conditions. Research shows that people with psoriasis or PsA are more likely to have CD or symptoms of CD. A 2011 Swedish study of people with CD found that 42 percent of psoriasis symptoms may be the result of the underlying CD. The researchers also found that children with CD had a higher risk of developing psoriasis.

According to a 2014 review, some research suggests that people with psoriatic conditions are more likely have CD antibodies, such as antigliadin antibodies, in their blood. These antibodies are commonly present in people with CD, and doctors sometimes use them to diagnose the condition. The review also reported on other studies, which found that psoriasis symptoms were more severe in people with higher levels of CD antibodies in their blood. The review authors concluded that a gluten-free diet might benefit some people with psoriasis, but they acknowledged the need for further studies.

While research indicates that there is likely to be a link between celiac disease and psoriatic conditions, the details of this relationship remain unclear.

What is PsA?

Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that causes red, scaly patches of skin. These patches often appear on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back, but they can occur almost anywhere on the body.

Doctors do not fully understand the cause of psoriasis, but they believe that it is an autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune system becomes overactive and mistakenly attacks the body’s cells instead of targeting infections and diseases. Research suggests that there is a significant link between psoriasis and 14 other autoimmune diseases, including CD.

Psoriasis that affects the joints is known as PsA. Studies suggest that around 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop PsA. This type of psoriasis can occur at any age, but it typically first appears in people aged 40 to 50 years old.

The symptoms of PsA can include:

  • swollen, painful joints
  • changes to the nails on the fingers and toes
  • neck pain
  • pain in the lower back and hips
  • back pain