December 20, 2010

Gluten in the Diet Triggers Many Neurological Problems

 

Headaches, Depression, Nerve Damage, and Seizures… What They All Have in Common

Recent research identified that 70% of gluten intolerant patients had social phobias. Depression was found in 52%.   These are neurological manifestations of the disease, or are related to the disease, and they’re not the only ones either.

Italian researchers found that 22.5% of the patients with gluten sensitivity had headaches, depression, epilepsy, neuropathy & nerve entrapment syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The immune system was clearly involved in about 42% of the patients, as antibody reactivity to neural(nerve)  antigens was detected. Interestingly,  those who had antibodies to neural antigens did not necessarily have neurological problems.  This indicates that these problems may take awhile to manifest.

Also noted was that if patients changed to a traditional gluten free diet, the follow-up lab work still revealed the same antibodies.  In other words, only eliminating wheat, barley, and rye, didn’t change the immune system response in those with gluten sensitivity.

Source:

Gluten Damages the Nervous System

This research demonstrates yet again the universal effect gluten can have on the body.  In this case,  patients developed  symptoms that effected the nervous system such as  headache, depression, neuropathy, and seizures as a result of being sensitive to gluten.

Of note is the fact that traditional gluten free diets focused on only eliminating wheat, barley, and rye did not resolve all of the patient’s problems. Additionally, the diet did not eliminate the presence of antibodies on follow up lab testing.

Remember that gluten is a protein found in all grains. Many research studies are identifying other grains as a problem with those with gluten sensitivity.  It is important to remember that substitute grains like millet, sorghum, rice, etc have not been adequately studied to be used as substitutes.

Many people with gluten intolerance have symptoms that persist even after going wheat, barley, and rye free.  This is largely due to the fact that they continue to consume:

  1. Highly processed foods with a strong potential for gluten cross contamination
  2. Other substitute grains that contain different types of gluten that continue to do damage to the bodies immune system
  3. Genetically modified versions of grains with the potential to confuse the immune system.

This is one of the many reasons why I recommend eliminating all grain from the diet for those diagnosed with gluten intolerance.

Confused about gluten?  Watch this free video and get educated…

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

Dr. Peter Osborne
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6 Responses to “Gluten in the Diet Triggers Many Neurological Problems”

  • christy kennedy says:

    I started having migraines when I was 24 and pregnant with my first child. Hormones triggered them, I figured, and then I started having them all the time. Food triggered them, I figured, so I kept a food diary and identified a few things to avoid, but I had more and more severely painful and prolonged episodes. By the time I was 45 I was having two, 2-3 day migraines a week. I had them the whole time I was raising my children. I had them at work and ended up working at home (for a variety of reasons, including migraines and severe gut symptoms, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, and other symptoms AND sick kids). I finally figured out I was gluten sensitive (at 45) and immediately went on a truly GF diet. The migraines went away after 48 hours! Didn’t expect it, but it happened. I see a naturopath now who could have told me to avoid gluten long ago, but I went for 20 years sometimes using but often turning down one scary prescription after another (that sometimes didn’t work anyway), or just toughing it out, like during pregnancies. I have four children and had four spontaneous abortions at around 12 weeks (doctors then didn’t know why, I assume it was from malabsorption of nutrients). Anyway, after being on a GF diet for a few months I went to a gastroenterologist to have a colonoscopy and upper GI exam just to rule out anything else because I’d had so much pain for so long. I told her I was severely gluten sensitive and on a GF diet and just wanted to make sure we weren’t overlooking anything. She told me to “not listen to ‘gluten nazis’” that she “knew nothing about kids and gluten” (or adults apparently), and to do a gluten challenge (I declined). She said I shouldn’t change my life so drastically by going on a GF diet if I wasn’t a celiac and I had already told her my migraine history. Call it whatever you like, so I’m not a true celiac, who cares? I told her that even without considering the long list of my other ailments and symptoms that were also improving, if I could avoid two, 2-3 day migraines a week, I’d have to be crazy to not be on a GF diet. Her nurse called me a few days later to tell me I had IBS and they had a prescription for me (“For what?” “For the cramping.” “Did I say I had cramping?” . . . ) and if they could answer any more of my questions to just call. I had some questions, alright, but they weren’t very polite. Much, much better now and head ache free. Gluten sensitivity and other things from my mom’s side of the family, migraines and other things from my dad’s side, and my kids, my mother and I (dad’s a healthy 84 year old) are breaking the pattern, figuring it all out. Striving for grain free since four of us still have trouble simply gluten free. Thanks a million for all your good information.

  • Your Welcome Christy! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Glad you are moving toward a TRUE gluten free (grain free) diet.
    All the best,
    Dr. O

  • Sandy says:

    Thank you for continuing to publish this information. It’s extremely important to spread this knowledge. I am gluten intolerant with Celiacs by medical diagnosis & labs. I’ve experienced numerous bouts of depression, anxiety attacks, mood swings, along with migraines that come in 3 yr cycles starting at age 33.

    I’ve been traditional gluten free for 2 years but still experienced lingering health issues. Only after removing ALL grains and following a true gluten free diet over the last 1 month have my remaining health issues begun to resolve. It’s astounding how much better I feel and I can easily see & feel the inflammation leaving.

    Articles like these are invaluable. Please keep them coming. My sister also has classic gluten intolerance symptoms but is in denial due to a false negative blood panel. I’m sharing info like this with her in prayer & hope that one day she will open her heart & mind and make a change.

    God speed!

  • Michele Seidl says:

    I have had migrane headaches for over 20 years. I have taken every medicine out there. I am so sick of meds. I still get frequent headaches and the drs. just want to prescribe more meds. I tried everything! It can be so depressing and the meds have side effects too! I think I am going to try gluten free. I eat pretty healthy now, but I will research this and try. Thanks for sharing your story. There just might be an end to this all! Excited!

  • Great post. Our family went gluten free because of our son’s rheumatoid problems and quickly discovered there was way more to it than that! We all had different symptoms resolve gluten-free, but decided to take it a step further and do the GAPS diet. Reading that book as well as Healthier Without Wheat and participating extensively on the celiac.com forums really opened my eyes to the range of negative effects gluten and grains in general can have on the body.

    I, especially have a lot of nebulous neurological issues. I noticed that they seemed especially tied to hypoglycemia and probably malabsorbtion as well. I’m now doing a gluten challenge after a year gluten free and the longer it goes on the worse I get.

    I’ve got a lot of posts about all this on my blog.
    You can start with our story if you are interested. http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/meet-the-liberators/our-story/

  • Linda says:

    I have microscopic colitis and also have to be gluten free, so there are many things evidently that cause the problem. However, my Gastroenterologist never mentioned being gluten free to help my problem, just meds that people said didn’t work. I accidently happened onto a support board for the colitis & found out that all of them worldwide had to be gluten free to have any relief. It took me almost a year to get some relief, as my intestines were that damaged, I guess. I later asked my Dr. why he never mentioned it to try, it would’ve saved me so much misery. His answer was that he can’t recommend it because there’s no Gold Standard Test for proving it helps. The Drs. are sooo behind the times that I sometimes wonder if all of them don’t own a part of Big Pharma. It wouldn’t have hurt him to say it has helped some people, ya know?

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