How a Gluten Free Diet Helps Relieve Cardiomyopathy Symptoms

December 15, 2009

If you are gluten sensitive and have cardiomyopathy it is possible that going on a gluten free diet may reverse the condition as the following cases illustrate:

Two winners, one loser (who failed to go gluten free).

Three individuals with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and coliac disease, were all instructed to follow a gluten free diet. Two of the three patients recognized the health effects of gluten free diet and were faithful to the diet. After 28 months following a gluten free diet, they showed improvement in their echocardiogram tests, as well as in a cardiological questionnaire and the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale questionnaire. The third patient refused to eat gluten free and experienced a worsening of symptoms.

Gluten free wins again.

An account published in 2005 describes the case of a 70 year old man who was experiencing symptoms of cardiomyopathy, including the classic symptoms of non-exertional chest pain. The patient had been diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis 20 years earlier, but had never followed a gluten free diet. When he was examined he had a dermatitis herpetiformis rash and of course the examination showed cardiomyopathy. The man was put on a strict gluten free diet and informed about the negative health effects of gluten on his body and that he might have a gluten alergy. He also continued with his drug treatment of losartan. After 10 months on a strict gluten free diet he had gained over 8 kg, his night sweats had resolved and he had not experienced further episodes of chest pain.

A different form of cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, also responds well to a gluten free diet. In a study published in 2002, researchers screened the serum of 187 patients with myocarditis and found that 4.4 % had coeliac disease. All of the individuals responded to a gluten free diet. The researchers wrote, “Patients with biopsy proven myocarditis, especially in the presence of clinical findings of malabsorbtion, should be screened for coeliac disease. In fact, if coeliac disease is associated with autoimmune myocaditis a gluten free diet alone or the diet in combination with immuno-suppressive agents can significantly improve the clinical outcome”.

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