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Living with Gluten Sensitivites & POTS

Navigating life with a diagnosis like POTS is enough to make your head spin. Appointments here, tests there, medications everywhere. You’re hungry for information, yearning for a nugget of advice that will fix the problem, but too much all at once and you might feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. The gastrointestinal (GI) system is highly implicated in POTS, therefore keeping a close eye on your nutrition is an important therapeutic step on the road to recovery.

POTS is a relatively “new” diagnosis in the medical world; it wasn’t until 1940 when the condition was first described and identified as a diagnosis all of its own, although people had likely been dealing with it for decades even prior to that date. As a result, the research available is relatively minimal compared to other conditions that have been on our radar for much longer.

Research that investigates nutritional considerations with POTS is even more scarce, but some does exist. One study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in 2016 observed a relationship between gluten sensitivity – which triggers an inflammatory response – and POTS. Compared to a prevalence of about 1% in the general population, researchers found that about 4% of patients with POTS had gluten sensitivity – specifically, celiac disease – as determined through biopsy, the gold-standard for such a diagnosis. While this study could not explain the reason for this potential relationship, it does lay the foundation for further investigation as to why this phenomenon was observed.

Gluten sensitivity and the resulting inflammatory response occurs along a spectrum of severity, potentially exacerbating health problems. It’s important to speak with certified healthcare professionals regarding your plan of care so that all aspects of therapy can be addressed. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a vital component of a health care team and is trained to help you assess and develop the most effective nutrition plan for you and your unique situation. While a gluten-free diet may be good for some people, it is not always the best option for everyone. It is best to seek advice from a nutrition professional who is experienced and educated in these symptoms with POTS and Dysautonomia, before attempting any type of therapeutic diet. At the POTS and Dysautonomia Treatment Center, we are ready to help you develop a personalized nutrition plan that will fuel your journey to an improved quality of life.

Courtney Nordhus, MS, RDN, LD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Licensed Dietitian

The following is the article referenced above:
Penny HA, Aziz I, Ferrar M, et al. Is there a relationship between gluten sensitivity and postural tachycardia syndrome?. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016;28(12):1383-1387.