Nutrition, diet and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS): the scientific research

Gluten

Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) and some types of oats. 

 

Gluten and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

 A 2016 study from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, England examined 3 groups:

  • Group 1: confirmed POTS
  • Group 2: 1,200 local subjects of whom, 12 had confirmed coeliac disease
  • Group 3: healthy subjects  

Among the group with POTS, coeliac disease was confirmed in 4%, 4 times higher than in the local population.  In addition, 42% of those with POTS had self reported gluten sensitivity compared to 19% in the general population. 

 

Following this initial research a 2022 study from the Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences examined the effect of a gluten free diet on POTS. 

 

20 patients with POTS but without coeliac disease were included in a 4 week trial of a gluten free diet. POTS severity score (COMPASS-31) were 57.8 before the gluten free diet and reduced to 38.2 with the gluten free diet. The biggest improvement were in:

  • Orthostatic intolerance
  • Vasomotor symptoms like hot flushes
  • Gut symptoms

 

In fact, 'all patients reported improved symptoms on gluten free diet' with an average self reported improvement of 50%!

 

Salt

Standard salt is composed to sodium chloride and has been associated with many health conditions. However, what about salt and POTS?

 

Sodium, salt and Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

Measuring sodium in the urine is a good method to assess the level of salt in the body. A 2012 study found that the level of sodium in the urine of children with POTS was significantly lower than that of children without POTS.

 

Then a 2017 study assessed the effect of IV saline drips and reported improvements in all areas, leading the researchers to conclude:

'Intermittent IV infusions of saline dramatically reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in patients suffering from POTS.'

 

A major issue with salt or sodium is that increased intake can cause harm to blood vessels and increases in blood pressure. However, a 2021 study  reported that 6 of a high salt diet did not harm blood vessels. 

 

A 2021 study published in the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology assessed the effects of a low sodium diet compared to a high sodium diet in POTS. The high sodium diet reduced heart rate and norepinephrine but increase blood volume. 

This study led a group of doctors of researchers to write that high sodium (salt) intake in patients with POTS is a Practice Worth Its Salt.

 

Conclusions

Both a gluten free diet and a higher salt diet are supported by some scientific. evidence. However, there are some limitations. Therefore, before removing gluten and/or adding salt, it is best to consult with a registered dietitian to ensure a safe diet which contains all essential elements. 

 

Best supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals for Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

For information on the best supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), check out our dedicated blog here.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published