Leaky Brain, Seizures (epilepsy), & Gluten Sensitivity | Gluten-Free Society


New research draws a connection between gluten induced leaky brain damage and seizure disorders (epilepsy).

Which Came First – The Chicken or the Egg?

It has long been held that chronic seizures cause blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage.  Recent studies have also demonstrated that BBB damage triggers seizures.


Brain Res. 2010 Sep 24;1353:176-86. Epub 2010 Jun 27.

Mov Disord. 2009 Oct 30;24(14):2162-3.

We know that gluten sensitivity can cause seizure disorders.  To that point, the Discovery Channel had an episode of Mystery Diagnosis that featured a young boy who responded to gluten by having seizures.  Additionally, we know that gluten sensitivity can contribute to blood brain barrier permeability (leaky brain). Now add to this the fact that a leaky brain will contribute to seizures and epilepsy. Thus the circle is complete.  When added together these elements create a viscous unending cycle of perpetual food induced damage.

Standard treatment for seizure disorders is typically medication (antiepileptic medication or AED’s). Unfortunately, the drugs do not actually correct the seizure disorder, they just reduce the occurrence of seizures through the artificial manipulation of brain chemistry.

The real question is, why are the seizures occurring in the first place.  Too often doctors look for a symptomatic fix over the origin of the problem.  This leaves patients no better off and in many cases worse off because the medications used for epilepsy lead to B-vitamin deficiency.

B-vitamin deficiency can cause neurological disease, contribute to seizures, neuropathy, and so on and so on and so on…

And so we wonder how many people with seizure disorders are gluten sensitive?

And because epilepsy is for the most part diagnosed by doctors (primarily neurologists) who don’t recognize the important contribution that food plays on health and disease, medication is the first line of treatment.  If you ask the doctor what the cause of the disease is, the most common reply is – “The cause is unknown, but most likely genetic.”  (unknown etiology)

How long can we justify the use of powerful drugs that have equally powerful side effects to treat a disease that in many cases could be easily treated with a simple dietary change?  And so we wait for doctors to open their eyes to the possibility that epilepsy (seizure disorders) can be caused by gluten exposure.

Wishing you excellent health,

Dr. Osborne – AKA – The Gluten Free Warrior

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary


7 responses on “Leaky Brain, Seizures (epilepsy), & Gluten Sensitivity

  1. chris bates says:

    I wish my doctors would have told me of this before I was sick for 20 years and given the run around..and meds that scrambled my eggs..and made me drool!! Feeling Better now, Thank God!

  2. Michelle says:

    I was an undiagnosed celiac for approximately 32 years. Of that, I was prescribed epilepsy drugs that did not control my partial complex seizures for over 18 years. At a point after going gluten free, although my seizures were decreasing, they had not disappeared and a new neurologist (to me) put me through the full testing again, this time in-patient, and said I did not have epilepsy. She didn’t know what caused my seizures, but they were not epilepsy and she took me off my meds and sent me home. I still have some seizures and I do not ever cheat on my gluten-free diet. If all those years of gluten was the cause of my seizures, I hope that someday they will stop especially since I have been gluten free, completely, for over 6 years now.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Michelle. I would encourage you to eat TRUE gluten free (no grains at all). Often this eliminates residual symptoms that a traditional gluten free diet does not. I would also recommend having a spectracell test performed to identify nutritional deficiencies.
      Wishing you excellent health,
      Dr. O

  3. JT KENNY says:

    check out http://www.espa-research.org.uk This is a research group in the uk which is studying the affect of gluten on people with autism but there theory on how gluten affects the brain could easily apply to epileptics. JTK

  4. Kris says:

    My five year old daughter has seizures for two days four an hour if she eats anything with gluten or dairy. No seizure meds control them!

  5. Col says:

    The day I reintroduced gluten back into my diet (after a 3 months break) coincided with my first ever fit. I can now detect gluten in foods by the brain effects – sudden memory & cognitive impairment, weakness, visual effects, speech impaired. Im ok as long as I don’t get glutened.

  6. Diana bien says:

    My daughter was diagnosed with JME when she was 11, she is 15 now and doctors believe she has this rare disease called Leber’s Optic Neuropathy LHON. Has anyone made a connection with gluten and vision or optic nerve?

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