June 8, 2012

Gluten Sensitivity and Vertigo/Meniere’s Disease


Gluten is a known neurotoxin, and for many patients with gluten sensitivity, nervous system diseases are the only symptoms that manifest.  Some neurologists have studied the connection in depth.  To date, gluten has been shown to cause lesions in the brain and central nervous system on MRI, gluten has been shown to cause the body to make antibodies against nerve tissue.

Nerve Damage Improves on a Gluten Free Diet

There are a number of neurological diseases that have been shown to improve with a gluten free diet.  The following is a short list of related neurological manifestations of gluten damage:

Gluten and Balance

Meniere’s disease is a condition that manifests symptomatically as severe dizziness, ear pressure, ringing, and often times is associated with concomitant migraine headache.  The symptoms can be debilitating and often lead to nausea, vomiting, and inability to stand or walk due to imbalance.  Recent research has identified a connection between grain (specifically wheat) and Meniere’s disease.  The study was published in the journal, Laryngoscope.  The abstract is below:

Wheat is one of the most common food allergens found in patients with Meniere’s disease (MD). Gluten from wheat has been identified to have a etiopathogenetic role in celiac disease, IgE hypersensitivity to wheat disease, and recently to gluten sensitivity. The aim of this study was to verify the incidence of gliadin prick test response in patients affected by MD.

There were 58 adult patients with definite MD, 25 healthy volunteers, and 25 patients with grass pollen rhinoconjunctivitis tested with skin prick test to gliadin.

A total of 33 MD patients (56.9%) proved to be sensitive to gliadin, eight of whom were positive to prick test after 20 minutes, 13 after 6 hours, 11 after 12 hours, and one after 24 hours.

What to do if you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease

It is important to let your doctor rule out any type of life threatening conditions first and foremost.  Beyond that, ruling out gluten intolerance is a must.  I would also recommend that you rule out other food and environmental allergies as well.  I have personally seen cases of Meniere’s in my clinic that were caused by a variety of foods.  I have also seen cases that were caused by severe mold toxicity.

Rule out vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  Often times, these nutritional deficits will lead to nerve damage.  Most prominently we see the loss of myelin (the insulation surrounding the nerves).  Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a common cause of myelin loss, as are copper and vitamin C deficiency.   Often times the deficiencies are caused by gluten induced gastrointestinal damage.

For more on the relationship between gluten and neurological inflammation and damage, watch the interview series with functional medicine psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Parker below.  His research and clinical experience are enlightening and may help give you some answers to medical mysteries you are dealing with.

for the rest of the interview go here <<<

All the best,

Dr. O


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11 Responses to “Gluten Sensitivity and Vertigo/Meniere’s Disease”

  • dots says:

    The study was done in Romania. Were the supplements of U.S. origin? How can we know?

  • lois granda says:

    does anyone know if centrum silver is gluten free?


  • Sharon says:

    Is there a way to reverse the lesions in the brain? Is the scarring permanent? Any suggestions as to heal the brain with supplements?

  • CJ says:

    I have had BPV ( Benign Proxymal Vertigo) which they say is pretty common, but very disturbing. This has to do with the inner ear. Is this gluten related?

  • It can be.
    The inner ear is fed by the vestibulocochlear nerve. As gluten is known to cause direct nerve damage, it is a possibility.

  • CNS (Central Nervous System)tracts may have been impaired due to the likely chronic irritation (for years, maybe even decades) as well, causing virtually any type of symptoms related to the nervous system. I recommend any patients with gluten sensitivity & neurological symptoms seek out a chiropractic functional neurologist from the following website (which also provides testimonials of actual patients & their response to care): http://www.lifechangingcare.com

  • Deborah says:

    I wanted to purchase something that can start me on a diet but I wanted to use paypal but it didn’t give me the option. I am 60 this year and am allergic to everything, can not keep Vit D in my system, allergic severly to smells and have all the syptoms of Gluten intolleance. What is the best thing for me to start and follow. I do better on a list and that is what you do. I hope this makes sense.

  • gunyuz aus says:

    I’ve suffer Dizziness On and Off like to know more

  • Julie S says:

    I suffer from bilateral Meniere’s disease and am undergoing natural treatment called NAET to try and clear up my symptoms for good! NAET can help remove any gluten intolerances among many other allergies permanently! http://www.naet.com and read more about it. I also recommend getting this book here: http://www.amazon.com/Say-Good-Bye-Illness-3rd-Edition/dp/0970434480/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376629295&sr=8-1&keywords=nambudripad
    To learn more about NAET and how it works. It’s a way better alternative to conventional doctors and Rx’s!

  • tinnitus says:

    Your tinnitus could be caused by hearing loss and getting a hearing aid can make a difference for you.

    This drug is most often prescribed as a blood-pressure lowering agent for people with hypertension. I’ve seen a figure that says that about 93%
    of sufferers never get total relief from their tinnitus, and that
    around 2 million Americans are unable to function normally because
    of it.

  • Excellent article! We are linking to this great article on
    our website. Keep up the great writing.

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