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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27 thoughts on “Gluten Sensitivity and Vertigo/Meniere’s Disease

    • JenJen says:

      You should not be taking Centrum Silver, it is a junk vitamin, and the the nutrients are not absorbed by the body but peed out. Instead, invest in a high quality multivitamin like Meta-Fem by Thorne, and take no less than the minimum daily dosage. Your body deserves the best!

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

    • says:

      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.

    • Glenys says:

      My daughter had this for 9 months were advised to take wheat out of her diet totally for two weeks dramatic improvement! Five weeks later symptoms still decreasing and been advised to reduce mesds. Certainly seems the case with my daughter.

  3. T.K. Gossett, D.C. says:

    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):

  4. 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.

    • Brandy S says:

      I would try a detox diet. Literally meat, vegetables and fruit. No grain, no dairy, no legumes. Try doing some research on the Paleo diet. It really helped me with a lot of my food allergy issues.

  5. 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! and read more about it. I also recommend getting this book here:
    To learn more about NAET and how it works. It’s a way better alternative to conventional doctors and Rx’s!

    • Karen Weitzman says:

      I have had tinnitus for years. I also have high frequency hearing loss. I use hearing aids specially programmed to play white noise, which teaches the brain to listen for that. Tinnitus is the brain replacing sounds that it can no longer hear. If you give it something to hear, the tinnitus gets quieter. Mine has been reduced significantly, it no longer is the first sound I hear. Try a good audiologist for a hearing test and assessment. Good luck!

  6. stephanie says:

    This was one if the most informational articles i have read about vertigo/Menieres. I have been ill for over 5 years dx w diabetes first but was always dizzy.I thought the dx was a final end to the dizzy n symptoms w it but it was just another trigger that made the dizziness worse. After several tests and MRI still no dx. Finally my ent sent me to a nuero specialist in vertigo dx my Menieres in seconds. I have several triggers B12 , Vitamin D , Anemic difficient along w the diabetes. I am on a low salt no caffeine low sugar diet a diuretic was provided for the Meniers and suppliments for the vitamin difficientcies its definitely helped. I will now get tested for the Gluten Sensitivity anything to help with this disease is a blessing

    • Jaye Hudson says:

      I was diagnosed with Meneire’s about one year ago. Over the years I’d had these horrible episodes of severe vertigo and vomiting, etc. However, for about ten years the episodes were very seldom. Then about two years ago, the symptoms became more and more frequent and severe. I’ve had paramedics to the house, trips to hospital from home and work. It was really, reallly bad. My doctor told me to lessen the salt considerably, so I did. In truth, I never felt I really ate that much salt. Then, in one visit he stressed the importance of staying away from biscuits. For whatever reason, I ate just one not much later and rather quickly went into one of my terrible episodes. So I stopped with the biscuits altogether. A co-worker said “I think you have a gluten intolerence.” I shrugged it off right then, as I’ve been a big bread eater my entire life. But, I was desparate. So, I stopped eating all bread, pasta, etc. I noticed a marked improvement. I have not had bread in about four months and neither have I had any serious episodes. Incredible. Try it. Give up bread, pasta, and any thing with flour. It may help you too.

  7. Kristen says:

    This was how I became diagnosed as celiac. I was having issues with vertigo suddenly happening at work. I also had digestive problems at times which I mentioned as an unconnected issue to my doctor. She tested me for celiac- as soon as I went gluten free the vertigo stopped happening.

  8. Audrey dibella says:

    I have had vertigo for 1 month I have been told I am gluten sensitive I don’t stay on the gluten free thing to a tee have this vertigo could this really be the reason

  9. Mim says:

    I have gone to many doctors over the last 4 years. I have had very debilitating dizziness, lightheadedness, and sometimes, vertigo. The neurologists and otolaryngolist found nothing. Meanwhile, my dizziness and imbalance issues have continued to worsen. Finally I went to a holistic doctor and the blood tests indicated that I have a huge allergy to gluten. I have cut gluten from my diet for about a month. No change yet.

    • Sheron Pearson says:

      It can take awhile depending on the damage to the vestibular nerves but I hope you perservered. I also hope your got tested and treated for nutritional deficiences which happens with gluten sensitivites affecting the gut absorbtions of B12, B6 and Zinc which are often deficient and can cause dizziness in there own right.

  10. Richard says:

    I am now 72. About 3 yrs ago, I suffered several severe attacks of vertigo, one so bad I had to crawl to the toilet & then vomited. Before that, I had also suffered rapid hearing loss, especially in one ear. I stopped taking gluten, over a period of about a month my vertigo got less and now I’ve been at least 2 yrs without a single attack. Weird but I dare not take any food containing gluten I am so convinced by it. I really think this subject warrants more research

    • GP says:

      Wow, sounds like me. I woke up one morning unable to walk due to severe dizziness, I vomited, had bad migraine and realized I couldn’t hear in 1 ear. Diagnosed with Labrynthitis.
      A year and a half later, I’m deaf in one ear, with positional vertigo and dizziness off and on. I think salt and gluten are to blame. Will try a GF diet.

  11. Sheila Figueroa says:

    Regular, traditional doctors are not trained to understand the connection between our GI system and the CNS system. In my case, I suffered unexpected bouts of vertigo without any logical explanation. I was healthy, fit, etc. I began noticing that everytime I consumed anything with gluten I would immediately get bloated, I had so much gas, the brain fog got so bad I couldn’t speak correctly and the dizziness began.

    Sure enough, later I got diagnosed with a gluten allergy. When I cut the gluten my life improved so so much. No more gas, bloating, diarrhea, vertigo, dizziness, joint pain, etc.

    Thank you for bringing so much awareness to this issue!

    • GP says:

      Did you get tested by a Holistic doctor ? I was tested by my general practitioner and the gluten test came back normal. I was wondering if there’s a special test Holistic do. Thanks!

  12. Sheron Pearson says:

    After many decades of long periods of being gluten free and dairy free due to being very unwell for years with chronic fatigue and finding out i was hypothyroid and my new holistic thinking doctor testing me by muscle testing for gluten problems etc and changing my diet with an elimination diet I became well again. Because of Dr Osbornes education i also became grain free too but with some lapses I have had 2.5months of dizziness with unbalanced problems involving cognitive involvements causing great disruption to my daily life. At first, having had a head cold when it started, I put it down to a viral problem and a wax buildup which Im prone too but after clearing that and seeing 2 doctors and an audiologist with nothing to define it it was time for a rethink. I found out through Dr Osbornes gene testing last year I have 2 copies of the celiac gene and 2 of the celiac sensitivity gene which along with my hypothyrodism mostly keeps me on the gluten free tract as going off it even just a bit causes all sorts of havoc for me. So Im back to recheck what Dr Osborne says on this subject and am now going back to total gluten, grain and dairy free along with zinc, b6 and b12 supplements which I am deficient in. I so look forward to improving and thank Dr Osborne for his good work and education as its a life saver.

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