A gluten-free diet may help prevent nerve pain, study results show.
Gluten is found in wheat and some grains but can cause abdominal pain, bloating and gas in those who are sensitive to the protein.
However, according to academics at the University of Sheffield, eliminating gluten products from the diet may ease the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, a condition which has been associated with gluten sensitivity and typically leads to weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands or feet.
For their study, researchers analysed 60 people suffering from gluten neuropathy, a diagnosis which is often made when a person has inexplicable nerve pain paired with a sensitivity to gluten.
The sample had an average age of 70, and each member was questioned about the intensity of their pain and other symptoms, as well as information regarding the participants' diets.
The results found that those who strictly avoided gluten were less likely to feel pain compared to those who didn't, with 56 per cent of the individuals that had gone gluten-free showing no discomfort.
They eventually concluded that a gluten-free diet made a person 89 per cent less likely to have painful symptoms alongside their nephropathy condition.
These findings support the results of a 2010 study which discovered that 11 out of 15 neuropathy patients were able to stabilise their condition after going gluten-free.
However, study lead author Dr. Panagiotis Zis, said that while their research shows an association between a self-reported gluten-free diet and less pain, further investigation is required to establish a definite link between the two.