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Leaky Gut – Leaky Brain – Gluten is an equal opportunity destroyer

With more and more coming out in research about gluten intolerance, awareness continues to spread about the different manifestations of eating this detrimental protein.

Studies on Leaky Brain –

Gluten sensitivity research identifies a connection between gluten induced leaky gut, and leaky brain. The ramifications of these findings are important to understand the broad scope of the impact gluten has in many diseases.
We were able to identify an intestinal Zot analogue, which we named zonulin. It is conceivable that the zonulins participate in the physiological regulation of intercellular tj not only in the small intestine, but also throughout a wide range of extraintestinal epithelia as well as the ubiquitous vascular endothelium, including the blood-brain barrier. Disregulation of this hypothetical zonulin model may contribute to disease states that involve disordered intercellular communication, including developmental and intestinal disorders, tissue inflammation, malignant transformation, and metastasis.


J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr . 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;915:214-22.

Gluten Damage is Under Recognized By Doctors

Most people (doctors included) connect gluten with intestinal symptoms and therefore, fail to understand the far reaching effects that gluten can have on different individuals. The discovery of the protein zonulin has identified yet another way that gluten can create problems for those ingesting it. It is thought that zonulin disrupts the epithelial barriers (such as found in the gut, brain, kidney, blood vessels, etc). The disruption of the blood brain barrier could lead to a battery of different neurological and mental symptoms as this barrier is designed to keep toxic compounds out of the brain’s blood supply. We have already linked gluten induced damage to a multitude of neurological problems including: If you or anyone you love suffers with any of the above, they may be gluten sensitive and they may have “Leaky BRAIN Syndrome”.

Dr. Fasano Discovered These “Leaks”

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with one of the leading researchers on this topic, Dr. Fasano, from the University of Maryland. You can hear what he had to say about leaky gut and leaky brain below: Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

13 Responses

  1. But the question is, if you follow a grain/gluten free diet, will any any damage cause to the brain heal? if so in what sort of time scales?

  2. Julie,
    I was diagnosed with leaky gut in March 2011 and began intensive nutrition therapy (under a doctor’s supervision). This included being grain-free (I learned this from Dr. Osborne.) By November, 2011 my brain was back to normal.

    Some notes: I had all the symptoms of early onset dementia (memory loss, loss of language skills, etc), severe depression, foggy brain, adult onset ADHD, and symptoms of PTSD. I was suicidal. I wrecked my car twice because I was too foggy to process the movements of other cars. I shouldn’t have been driving. I got lost in my own neighborhood. I was 46 years old.

    Now, I am 47 and my brain is completely normal. I can multi-task, plan, write, and do everything I did before I got sick.

    I don’t know if the damage ever truly heals, but I got my ability to think back. I’m so thankful.

  3. Two things.
    The symptoms align with Lymes Disease… can we tell? What if you had both …? Yuck.

    Since malabsorbtion is part of this….what can we take to heal and start to get nutrition?

  4. This site is superb, at last real and honest information regarding the problem that is GLUTEN. I have found it through one of my patients who is trying to recover from the ravages of this grain.
    As a medical herbalist I have become increasingly aware of the terrible problems that can be caused by grains, and in fact by carbohydrates in general, and I now regard the ‘paleo diet’ as the most intelligent food movement to have developed in the past century as it promotes a grain free, low carb diet, and the meat must be organic/grass fed and free to roam.
    Herbal medicine can certainly help to restore the gut and other damaged tissue once gluten has been cut out completley, but some complex malfunctions can still be difficult to resolve, depending on the degree of and type of damage/dysfunction.
    I am utterly horrified by the ignorance of the orthodox medical profession, especially the consultant gastroenterologists, who insist that patients consume gluten containing grains for weeks before their tests will show clear coeliac status, and a negative response (‘no, you are not coeliac’) can easily be wrong! Some labs do a much better job but not in Enlgand. Nora Gedguedas, at the Ancestral Health Symposium in August 2011, mentions a lab in the USA that does proper, reliable tests, but here in the UK I am not so sure.
    I believe we are in a new era regarding food and health as the immense quantity of research in the past decade, and the quality of that research, all seems to point to a need to make radical changes to what we think of as ‘human food’, and the clue is it isn’t ‘bird food’ or ‘herbivore food’. Eventually the governments will not be able to continue to promote the wrong stuff, as the cost will just be too high, in the form of diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, obesity and cancers, to name a few broad catagories. Check out ‘Weston A Price Foundation’; the book ‘Trick and Treat’ by Barry Groves; the Ancestral Health Sumposium (the first of many I have no doubt) with its wonderful series of speakers; Denise Minger’s wonderful site ‘raw food sos’ (don’t worry, it isn’t as narrow as it sounds), and of course find a Medical Herbalist near you by going to the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. All of this can be done online.

  5. Julie,

    I went gluten free for about a month and my symptoms disappeared (free glutamate sensitivity). I was also taking ALA, EPA and DHA supplements which I think are helpful in the healing process.

    But suspect everyone will heal and different rates and each person has a unique response to gluten and each response can have it’s own time line.


  6. Afifah,

    While I agree with what you are saying. The government views food as a pacification play–a fed populace is a peaceful one.

    They look at it as a choice between civil unrest by healthy people (eating paleo, but without enough meat to go around) or social order with lots of sick people.

    I’m skeptical that we can produce enough pastured meat for 9 billion to eat paleo. And the grass model doesn’t even work for poultry or pork since they’re not herbivores.

  7. My son was originally diagnosed with anxiety disorder 13 years ago… right around his 18th birthday and yesterday he turned 32. He has been on and off of paxil, trying not to take it and to function without it, ever since. Recently he had to go on clyndamycin. The horrible side effects of that caused all sorts of complications which led him to go for food sensitivity tests, which aren’t available in Canada and done by a company called Entrolab in Texas. It turns out that normal sensitivity levels are 10. For him gluten sensitivity was 264, dairy 153, eggs 43 and soy 59. So all of these years he could have stopped eating all of these and not had to go on that horrible drug “paxil”. Now his anxiety is through the roof, so much so that he feels a constant “burning” throughout his nervous system,he has severe mucle cramping and twitching, and keeps getting a build up of pressure in his throat, causing him difficulty breathing. He’s terrified that he’s going to go crazy and never get better and feels constantly sad… a young man who has always been wonderfully positive. He is back on paxil to control the anxiety, been “gluten free” for a month, but continues to suffer horribly with anxiety, depression, muscle cramping and twitching and this feeling of pressure throughout his nervous system.
    Does anyone have the fastest way of getting this crap out of his system and keeping it out. Someone advised me that kiwi fruit strips the system of gluten, but he’s afraid to try it because of the acidity and his current stomach problems.
    Thank you for any help you can give to get my happy, positive son back to normal!

    1. Very true about paleo and meat. Its also the environmental factors associated with that much meat consumption in general! Properly prepared gluten free grains in moderation can be very healthy and much more environmentally friendly as opposed to meat meat meat.. Beans especially that are properly prepared are extremely beneficial to our health. Too much meat can raise homocystiene levels, a marker for cardiovascular disease, and beans keep homocystiene in check. One of many points that can be made in support of balance and variety in our diets!!!

    2. I was prescribed Clindamyacin by a Dentist for an abscess under tooth that was excruciatingly painful and despite the fact that I questioned whether this Antibiotic was the best for me with a history of allergies and the Pharmacist assured me that Clindamyacin was best for my abscess!!! Turns out that at my age AND being Asthmatic I should NEVER been prescribed this Antibiotic cos I had an acute allergic reaction to the Clindamyacin after I had finished taking the whole course and I suffered with horrendous Vomiting and diarrhea for weeks and I couldn’t even keep a sip of boiled water down!!! I lost a lot of weight and I think that I would have died alone in my Apartment if a friend hadn’t turned up to visit me unexpectedly and telephoned an Ambulance to take me to Hospital!!! I was given Codienne for pain and miraculously the Codienne stopped the diahrea, but the Vomiting continues on and off AND the worst thing is that the Clindamyacin caused inflammation of the intestines and now I have digestive problems and feel sick all the time and even having a Cup of Tea can result in my starting to Vomit!!! The Clindamyacin completely stripped my digestive system of all the bacteria and stuff it contains to be healthy and another Doctor told me that no matter how much pro-biotic yogurt I eat etc my digestive system will never be the same for the rest of my life!!! I would like to annihilate that Asian Dentist who did this to me cos I have suffered for quite a few years since she Prescribed Clindamyacin!!! Please find out the contraindications of anything you are prescribed cos YOU alone could save your own life!!! painful

  8. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes one year. The next was celiac disease. Then the following year I continually broke out in hives that doctors called Urticaria. And the fourth year was epilepsy, complex partial seizure of the left temporal lobe. I wonder if they are all connected to celiac disease because I found this out by accident when a nurse put blood work for diabetes in the wrong test!

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