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Ankylosing Spondylitis and Food Intolerances

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic condition where the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed. It usually causes back pain that lessens with exercise and worsens or isn’t improved by rest. Symptoms tend to develop gradually over months or years. In some cases, the condition gets better with time, but in others, it only worsens.

What does the research say about AS and Food Intolerances?

An observational study investigated the differences in serum levels of 14 food antigen-specific immunoglobin G levels between a healthy control and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) patients. AS patients were found to have significantly higher serum IgG levels of beef, crab and pork specific IgG compared to the control. It is suspected that this may be due to a specific antigen found in mammalian red meat and that this antigen may play a role in the development of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

“In addition, the serum levels of pork-specific IgG were significantly and positively correlated with CRP. These results suggest that α-Gal, the predominant natural antigen in mammalian red meat, might play a potential role in the pathogenesis of AS, and therefore, AS patients should exclude such allergenic foods, including beef, crab and pork, from their daily diet.”

– Medicine. 98(6):e14421, February 2019

The researchers investigating suggested that those suffering from AS should avoid those foods in which higher IgG levels were found. We suggest taking this a step further and conducting a full food intolerance test to determine any additional foods which may be worsening your overall health.

A 2011 study that investigated the relationship between Ankylosing Spondylitis, diet and digestive symptoms found that 27% of patients with AS complained of gastrointestinal issues when consuming a certain food – which is indicative of a food intolerance. 30% of those patients had markedly worse scoring in functional status and higher rates of disease activity.

“Overall, 27% of the patients reported aggravating gastrointestinal problems when consuming certain foodstuff(s). The 30% of patients who reported suffering from gastrointestinal pain had significantly greater disease activity and poorer functional status according to their BASDAI and BASFI scores (p < 0.01 and p = 0.01, respectively)”

Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Jan;30(1):71-6.

Why Food Intolerance Testing Could Help

With higher IgG levels and nearly a third of all AS sufferers presenting signs of a food intolerance, proper testing for food intolerances seems like a logical step in treating Ankylosing Spondylitis. Combined with the potential to lower your inflammation through this reduction in IgG responses, it seems like a win-win solution to dealing with this chronic condition.