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Gluten-free Diet Benefits Skin Diseases

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According to John Zone, M.D., from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, gluten sensitive enteropathy may impact many areas of medical dermatology practices.

Internal Gluten Damage

Gluten is a group of proteins, which consists in grains such as rye, barley and wheat. Gluten sensitive enteropathy—or celiac disease—brings damage to the intestinal mucosa, which is induced by gluten. If gluten is removed from the diet, the damaged mucosa heals within months.

In 2000, one in 100 people in the United States drew positive blood tests for celiac disease due to gluten sensitivity.

If patients who are already on a gluten-free diet visit dermatologists, their celiac disease tests will come up negative and being able to tell whether they do have celiac disease will be impossible, explained Zone.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

One of out of every six patients with celiac disease had dermatitis herpetiformis, Zone explained. Most of these individuals went on a gluten-free diet when they were diagnosed with celiac disease and their dermatitis cleared quickly.

Zone believes the best treatment for dermatitis herpetiformis is a gluten-free diet.

If a dermatitis sufferer manages the diet properly, the disease will subdue indefinitely, he explained.

Dapsone’s Role

Dapsone is traditionally used to treat dermatitis herpetiformis if the patient tolerates it because it clears the skin and suppresses the disease.

Zone has his patients start off with both a small dose of dapsone and a gluten-free diet. He then gradually tries to taper with dapsone and leave his patients only on a gluten-free diet because patients could be at an increased risk for osteoporosis and possibly secondary lymphoma.

Psoriasis and a Gluten-free Diet

Finding psoriasis and celiac disease in one person is rare and testing for psoriatics for celiac disease is not routine in the United States. However, according to reports from Sweden where controlling the population for such testing is more common, individuals with both diseases who maintained a gluten-free diet reported an improvement on their psoriasis. 

Source: Dermatology Times

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