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Gluten sensitivity, brain and nervous system







Celiac disease is just one of the diseases, which can be triggered by gluten.  Many experts now believe that gluten sensitivity (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) affects the brain and nervous system more than the gut.


Many people   sensitive to gluten have neurological rather than gastrointestinal   symptoms. When we think of the health problems that can be linked to gluten, the first thing that comes to mind for many is celiac disease. It is a chronic autoimmune disease, in the presence of which wheat, rye, barley, and preferably also oats and products containing all these cereals are prohibited for the patient. Symptoms vary, but the most common are anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, and general malaise.


In England, for example, nearly 125,000 people suffer from celiac disease, and 7,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and this number is growing. Very many of them are not properly diagnosed, so it is thought that celiac disease actually affects 1 in 100 people. Celiac disease is clearly an underdiagnosed disease.


To diagnose celiac diseaseblood tests look for certain antibodies that the celiac disease body produces in response to gluten. Although negative answers generally mean that the person does not have celiac disease, false negative results are also possible. Some studies have shown that celiac patients often have a deficiency of immunoglobulin A (IgA). It is in cases of IgA deficiency that IgA-based celiac disease diagnostic blood tests can give false negative results. In celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger an immune response, damaging the lining of the small intestine. This inflammatory process causes atrophy of the small intestinal mucosal caps. Gluten also disrupts the proper functioning of the tight junctions between cells covering the wall of the small intestine, allowing larger molecules into the bloodstream. This increases the permeability of the intestine, or "leaky gut syndrome", which in turn is a favorable surface for various health problems.



From belly to brain


The body's reaction to gluten can cause inflammation not only in the intestines - it can affect the whole body - brain, nerves, muscles and joints. "Gluten syndrome" explains  the neurological symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity, which were initially thought to be due to nutrient deficiency due to damage to the intestinal lining that occurs in  celiac disease.


Sixteen practitioners from seven different countriespublished a summary, where they proposed to stipulate international recommended definitions for terms that also describe celiac disease. The term "gluten-related disease" is recommended to include all pathologies triggered by gluten, of which celiac disease is only one part._cc7890_cc781 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_
























Neurologist Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou made a major contribution to the study, which focused on gluten-related neurological problems. In his 2010 review, he found that a large proportion of people who develop neurological symptoms after consuming gluten do not experience digestive problems at all. Common neurological problems associated with gluten include ataxia (loss of coordination) and damage to the peripheral nervous system, with pain in the arms and legs being common symptoms. It can affect the whole body, cause difficulty in walking, involuntary muscle twitches or eye twitches, make movement difficult (e.g. not being able to control the speed of movement) or affect the strength of movements, speech disorders, etc.


In case of damage to the peripheral nervous system (neuropathy), the transmission of messages between the brain and spinal cord and other parts of the body is disturbed. It affects muscle function, including swallowing and breathing, and causes symptoms such as numbness, tingling, stinging, electric flashes, burning in the hands and feet. If the motor nerves are involved, paralysis and weakness may also occur. Bowel and bladder problems, impotence, lightheadedness and fainting are all symptoms that can occur with such damage. Symptoms may initially appear mild and limited, gradually spreading and worsening.


In a 2002 study found that 40% of people who had neuropathy of unknown cause had antibodies in their blood that indicated gluten sensitivity.



Migraine, mental illness and multiple sclerosis


Other neurological problems that may indicate gluten sensitivity include migraines, mood swings, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, dementia, and multiple sclerosis.In a 2003 study conducted in Italy found that the prevalence of celiac disease-related antibodies was 10 times higher in those who suffered from migraines.


Three studies confirm that people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder have higher levels of anti-gluten antibodies in their blood than the average person with gluten sensitivity, especially when the sufferer on_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d78190_cc -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_maniakaal-episoodid. Need  antikehad  on spetsiifilised just nendele ajuhäiretele ja erinev nendest antikehadest, mis on seotud with celiac disease.

In less serious cases, gluten sensitivity can cause unexplained mood swings.


The link between celiac disease and epilepsy has long been known, and there are indications that in some   forms of epilepsy, the child has been cured of the disease by following a gluten-free diet. The literature also points to findings that neurological symptoms may be caused by lesions in the central and peripheral nervous system initiated by gluten-induced damage.


However, the understanding of exactly what mechanism is behind it and how epilepsy and gluten sensitivity are related is still in its infancy.


Multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory disease of the nervous system, may also be linked to anti-gluten antibodies in some cases. A 2009 Israeli study found antibodies against gliadin and tissue transglutaminase in 98 people with multiple sclerosis. This was also confirmed by a study done in Spain, where the corresponding antibodies were more common in people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.



Following a gluten-free diet


Joints and muscles are very sensitive to gluten-induced inflammation, as are the brain and nerves, and in many cases, unexplained joint and muscle pain is probably due to gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity can also contribute to autoimmune diseases.


The growing awareness that gluten sensitivity can be associated with many brain, nerve and autoimmune diseases gives reason to say that gluten sensitivity testing should also be used in the diagnosis of such diseases. At present, corresponding antibodies are not routinely tested in the UK, for example. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that  blood tests should be carried out to detect celiac disease in people diagnosed with epilepsy or bipolar disorder. However, the same recommendation is not extended to the diagnosis of ataxia and neuropathy, even though these are among the most common neurological diseases associated with gluten-induced damage.


A study, which examined the use of a gluten-free diet in diseases (except celiac disease), found that when wheat gluten was excluded from the menu, it significantly contributed to the treatment of both neurological and  autoimmune diseases, as well as irritated to the reduction of bowel syndrome symptoms.


Starting a gluten-free diet is not always easy. Wheat is a staple in many people's diets, including bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, and most processed foods.  When starting a diet, it would be wise to initially focus on whole foods, unprocessed gluten-free foods. The menu could include, among other things fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, chicken and gluten-free cereals.





Gluten sensitivity, or gluten-related disorder, appears to be a condition that is a broader and deeper problem than just a diagnosis of celiac disease. It is still poorly understood by many practitioners and has no clear definition, nor is it entirely clear how to accurately diagnose it. As a result, many people do not get the correct diagnosis and suffer from various health problems when consuming gluten.





Original text: Hum, Martin PhD, DHD, "Gluten sensitivity: a brain disease?", Optimum Nutrition Magazine, summer issue 2012

Summary: Sandra Tamm 

Health problems, one of the causes of which can be gluten sensitivity

* Ataxia (loss of coordination)

* Peripheral neuropathy(nerve damage)
* Migraine
* Epilepsy
* Psoriasis(
* Chronic fatigue
* Bipolar disorder
* Schizophrenia
* Dementia
* Multiple sclerosis(Multiple Sclerosis)
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Joint and muscle pain
* Type I diabetes 
* Autoimmune thyroid disease
* Celiac disease
* Skin problems such as dermatitis herpetiformis(considered a skin form of celiac disease)
* IBS- irritable bowel syndrome "Gluten sensitivity, brain and nervous system"

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