Why Gluten Is Bad For Brain

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Gluten has no doubt impact your nervous system: persons with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity report symptoms ranging from headaches to brain fog to peripheral neuropathy (tingling in your extremities).

Epilepsy, depression, and anxiety are all prevalent neurological diseases in gluten-sensitive people. A limited proportion of people are also affected with gluten ataxia, a dangerous autoimmune disorder.

Gluten consumption has been linked to illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in a small number of people. However, the research does not yet indicate who might be harmed, despite revealing that a gluten-free diet can aid certain people. 1 Here’s a list of the neurological disorders that gluten can cause.

nerve connections in a lady
Getty Images/Pasieka
Anxiety and Depression
According to research, celiac disease patients had considerably more significant rates of sadness and anxiety than the general population.

Although the links between the disorders are less evident because they haven’t been examined sufficiently, those who test negative for celiac disease but are diagnosed with gluten sensitivity also report greater levels of sadness and anxiety.

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It’s unclear why gluten consumption causes these two neurological disorders. Gluten-related intestinal damage, according to researchers, may induce nutritional shortages in celiac disease patients, leading to depression and anxiety (deficits in specific B vitamins can cause some symptoms). 2

That, however, does not explain why those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (who do not have intestinal damage from gluten) also experience those two mental illnesses.

Some gluten sensitivity experts, including New Zealand pediatrician Dr. Rodney Ford, have proposed that gluten causes these diseases by directly affecting your brain, although this notion has yet to be validated. If you suffer from depression or anxiety as a result of gluten, you’re not alone. 3

ADHD and Brain Fog
Many people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can detect whether they’ve been gluten inadvertently. Their minds fog up, making them feel ineffective, if not foolish and clumsy. This syndrome, known as brain fog, has gotten little attention, but it’s a typical sign of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. 4

Another common complaint, both in adults and children, is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People who have children with gluten issues can speak to the fact that when their diets are gluten-free, their children’s school performance improves dramatically! 5

Migraines
Migraines are frequently listed as symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Migraine headache pain is reported by up to one-third of patients with these illnesses. 6

Epilepsy
When neurons in the brain fire improperly, epilepsy develops, resulting in seizures and sometimes coma. Celiac disease has also been linked to a rare epileptic syndrome and bilateral occipital calcifications. 7

Vertigo
Vertigo, often known as dizziness and spinning, is caused by a failure in the inner ear’s balancing system. Two studies suggest a link between Meniere’s disease (a type of vertigo) and celiac disease, however, vertigo is a common complaint among celiac disease patients. 8

Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) is a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects
Peripheral neuropathy is common in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, and it creates a tingling or “pins-and-needles” sensation in their feet and fingers. Damage to the nerves in your extremities causes the feeling, which may improve after you go gluten-free. 9

Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia
There have been several reports linking gluten to two severe psychiatric disorders: bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

A few studies suggest that patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have an increased risk of bipolar illness. There’s also an intriguing study that looked at gluten antibodies in the bloodstream of persons with bipolar disorder and discovered significant levels in those who were having a manic episode. 10

Meanwhile, there has been decades of speculation in schizophrenia that eliminating bread (a significant source of gluten) from a person’s diet can assist. A gluten-free diet has been demonstrated to help people with schizophrenia in studies, but further research is needed. 11

Brain Damage Caused by Autoimmune Disease
Gluten-induced autoimmune disease occurs when your body attacks its tissues as a result of gluten ingestion. Celiac disease (damage to the small intestine), dermatitis herpetiformis (damage to the skin), and gluten ataxia are the three disorders (damage to the brain). 12

Your immune system targets your cerebellum, the area of your brain that controls coordination when you have gluten ataxia. The damage is often irreparable, though a rigorous gluten-free diet can help slow the onset of the disease. 13

Gluten ataxia can hurt the neurological system. It is thought that there are only a few people who have it. Many more persons with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity exhibit symptoms that are comparable to gluten ataxia. 13

Gluten-Free Eating Plan
Without a doubt, celiac illness and gluten sensitivity can cause a wide range of neurological issues and diseases. In many circumstances, however, adhering to a rigorous gluten-free diet will help you minimize or even eliminate your gluten-related neurological symptoms. 1

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