Case Study Indicates Gluten-Free Diet Could Aid in Neurological Disorders

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When we think of the symptoms of celiac disease or even non-celiac gluten sensitivity, we mostly think of digestive issues. And it’s true, gastro-intestinal distress is often the first noted symptom of gluten intolerance. But, it’s not the only one, and as a new study published in the Journal of Neurology suggests, gluten could possibly be to blame for neurological disorders commonly thought of as age-related, like Parkinson’s disease.

The study is not available for full public download, however, we do know it is a case study of one 75-year old male, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Never having been previously diagnosed with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the researchers put him on a 3-month gluten-free diet, with dramatic results.

“This may strike the reader as surprising,” reports GreenMedInfo, “considering gastrointestinal complaints are the most commonly noticeable symptom; and yet, when the voluminous published literature on gluten related adverse health effects is taken into account, so-called ‘out of intestine’ expressions of intolerance to gluten-containing grains are far more common than gut-related ones, with no less than 200 distinct adverse health effects implicated.”

So we know this isn’t the first example of neurological symptoms being related to gluten intolerance. On the contrary, there are numerous studies that have tied grain consumption and intolerance to negative effects in the brain.

Dr. David Perlmutter wrote an entire book on the impact grains are having on our collective brains. In “Grain Brain”, he ties gluten consumption to things like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, headaches, depression, and more—far more than the most well-recognized digestive symptoms associated with the issue.

Read: 7 Foods You may Not Know Contain Gluten

Not only is gluten tied to neurological disorders and changes, grains are, by their very nature, addictive. Gluten actually stimulates opiate receptors in the brain—similar to how heroin would. But unlike heroin, death by bread is a slow one.

“Some degree of gluten reactivity is thought to occur in up to 80% of the population and is driven by shared and distinct immune response mechanisms,” explains Dr. Kelly Brogan, indicating you don’t need to be a diagnosed celiac for gluten to affect you negatively.

“Response to gluten free diets in placebo-controlled trials and inflammation in the guts of non-Celiac patients, even without gliadin antibodies (such as in this study of exposed non-Celiac patients) argues for the universal effects of this food, and the individuality of our immune responses accounting the variations in severity and presentation.”

Is it possible that the diseases we see now more than ever—Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Parkinson’s, depression, and more—are caused by the very food we eat? There’s a good chance they are and an equally good chance grains have something to do with it.