Symptoms

Neurological Disorders, Gluten & Celiac Disease

The brain is a delicate organ, where billions of cells, electrical and chemical reactions have to interact correctly to function optimally.  When something unbalances brain chemistry, interrupts reactions or damages the cells, brain dysfunction results. Gluten does all these things – whether or not you have celiac disease.

Neurological disorders from gluten can arise in either, or both, of the following ways.  Gluten can penetrate the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, by its own mechanism, travel to the brain where it can damage or disrupt cells or cause inflammation.  This is the direct effect of gluten on the brain.  Gluten can also lead to malabsorption of nutrients in celiac disease.  In this case, the body does not absorb the nutrients it needs. Nutrients are chemicals. The brain, therefore, does not receive the chemicals it needs to function correctly and problems develop.

Nervous system disorders have been found in over 50% of newly diagnosed celiacs.  The list of nervous disorders is long: autism, gait ataxia, gluten ataxia, progressive myoclonic ataxia, chorea, tremors, brain atrophy, cerebral perfusion abnormalities, cortical calcifying angiomatosis (cerebral calcifications), dementia, headaches, epilepsy, chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, multiple sclerosis, vasculitis of the central nervous system, chronic maladaptive anxiety, apathy, depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia, irritability, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and peripheral neuropathy.  New disorders are being added as the link between

These nervous disorders can include either hard or soft disorders.

Examples of hard disorders would be epilepsy, ataxia (motor abnormalities), myoclonus, internuclear ophthalmoplegia, multifocal leukoencephlopathy, dementia and peripheral neuropathies.  Hard disorders, besides peripheral neuropathies, do not respond to gluten restriction – so identifying gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease early is critical.

Soft disorders in celiac disease include a broad range of what are considered common neurological disorders.  Hypotonia (flaccid muscles in babies), developmental delay, learning disorders and ADHD, headaches and cerebellar ataxia are examples.  Importantly, there does not seem to be a difference in whether people with infantile-onset gastrointestinal symptoms, those with late onset symptoms or are asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all) develop soft disorders.

This means you may never experience a gastrointestinal symptom, yet still suffer from neurological disorder due to celiac disease.

Recovery from these neurological disorders usually depends on length of time gluten has been digested. The gluten-free diet can result in complete recovery, improvement or no recovery depending on the amount of damage incurred. This means the earlier gluten is removed from the diet, the greater the likelihood of successful recovery.

For these reasons, anyone with an unexplained neurological disorder that does or does not respond to traditional treatment should be screened for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

(This Health Alert was taken from information found in Issue #10 – “How Gluten Perturbs the Brain” of the Gluten Free Gazette.)

Celiac disease is a hereditary, auto-immune disorder estimated to affect 1% of the human population (3 million in the US). Less than 3 % are estimated to be medically diagnosed, but numbers are expected to rapidly increase as diagnosis improves. Celiac disease is caused by the ingestion of wheat, barley, rye and oats and treated by removing these items from the diet. Signs, symptoms, associated disorders and complications can affect any part of the body and removal of the offending foods can result in complete recovery.

Visit Glutenfreeworks.com for more information.

New Study Finds Link between Celiac Disease and Obesity in Patients

gluten overweight weight gain[Editor’s Note: Originally published October, 11, 2012]

Lately, it seems like more and more celebrities and professional athletes are openly talking about going gluten free. Whether it’s due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, or simply because they want to get healthy, many of them have noted a weight loss as part of the benefits they’ve been seeing. Then why is it, that so many doctors and specialists will dismiss a diagnosis of celiac disease in a patient simply because the patient is not underweight?

In a recent article by Sonia Kupfer, MD, the belief that people with un-diagnosed celiac disease are all underweight is revealed to  Read More »

Niacin (Vitamin B3) deficiency in celiac disease

Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is required by all the cells of our body making it essential for vitality and life itself.

Niacin is essential for keeping our skin and digestive tract healthy, our brain and nervous system  functioning normally, certain key cell processes repaired, our adrenal glands producing steroid hormones at demand levels, sex glands producing the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and, most especially, for producing energy to keep our body alive.1

When absorbed from the small intestinal tract, niacin becomes part of a process including more than 200 enzymes involved in metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fatty acids, that is, chemical reactions that maintain life.1 Niacin is stored by the liver.2

Niacin must be digested to release its absorbable forms, nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. These molecules are absorbed across the intestinal lining at low concentrations by sodium-dependent facilitated diffusion, meaning they need help to get into the bloodstream.1 Read More »

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Gluten

non alcoholic cirrhosis fatty liver celiac disease gluten
This is super important for anyone with fatty liver disease!

While we were at Columbia University’s Topics in Gastroenterology, Dr. Steven Lobritto talked about cirrhosis of the liver and how he has actually seen people who were on the liver transplant list heal enough to be taken off once they started a gluten-free diet. That’s right.  People who needed liver transplants – their liver’s were basically done for – healed! I have personally met a man who also recovered during Read More »

Novak Djokovic #1 Tennis Player in the World Dispels Myth That Gluten-Free Diet is Deficient

Novak Djokovic: #1 Tennis Player in the World & Gluten-free!

On September 12, a gluten-free Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal to win the men’s US Open Final.
Djokovic, the #1 men’s tennis player in the world, credits his adoption of the gluten-free diet at the recommendation of a nutritionist in 2010 for his incredible success in 2011. He has won an astounding 64 out of 66 matches and 3 out of 4 Grand Slams in 2011.

Djokovic said in interviews that removing gluten from his diet has resulted in his increased speed, endurance and improved play. In his own words, he feels better, moves better and thinks better.

While watching the grueling 4 hour and 10 minute US Open Final and listening to the announcers repeatedly describe it as one of the most intense they had ever witnessed, a nagging thought begged the question…  Read More »

Nutrient Deficiencies Symptom Chart: Know Where You Stand So You Can Control Your Health

nutrient deficiency symptoms

Know the Symptoms of Nutrient Deficiencies so You Can Be Healthy!

The impact of nutritional deficiencies on health should be common knowledge among the medical professional community. All doctors, nurses and other medical professionals should be able to quickly and accurately identify and diagnose functional nutritional deficiencies in patients and correct those deficiencies. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Medical teaching institutions do not focus on nutrition, so many medical professionals are not equipped to recognize the signs of nutritional deficiencies until the patient is extremely sick. In most cases, the patient is able to function, just not at his or her potential. He or she may have weight issues, skin, hair or Read More »

Olmesartan Blood Pressure Medicine Linked to Celiac Disease Type Villous Atrophy

Olmesartan Benicar Villous Atrophy Celiac DiseaseI just received an email from the Celiac Disease Research Center at Columbia University regarding a study showing a possible association between a blood pressure medication and villous atrophy. The blood pressure medication is called olmesartan and it is also known as Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, and Olmetec.

According to this article, the three-year study was conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and it included 22 patients who had symptoms of celiac disease, but antibody blood tests did not support that diagnosis. During this study patients improved with discontinuation of the drug, while a gluten-free diet had had no impact on their Read More »

Osteomalacia in Adult Celiac Disease

Osteomalacia is common in celiac disease. Osteomalacia can occur at any age. It children, it is called rickets.  It is a metabolic bone disorder that involves slow loss of minerals from bone tissue throughout the skeleton, stemming from inadequate absorption of vitamin D. As minerals are dissolved from bone tissue to provide for essential functions elsewhere in the body, bones gradually lose their hardness.

Consequently, pronounced softening of the bones characterizes osteomalacia. Soft bones become deformed, especially bones of the arms, legs, spine, thorax and pelvis. The softer bones have a normal amount of collagen, a strong fibrous protein in the bone matrix (osteoid) that gives bone its structure and tensile capacity, but there is not sufficient calcium and phosphate minerals available to properly mineralize or be deposited in the osteoid to give it necessary hardness. Read More »

Osteopenia Found in 50% of Children with Celiac Disease

gym_06Research shows celiac disease can cause brittle bones in children. Can a gluten-free diet correct it?

A teenage gymnast is completing an exercise at the US Nationals gymnastics competition. At seventeen years of age, she is one of the top athletes in the country, physically strong and incredibly fit.

Both her wrists fracture during the dismount.

Doctors test her bone density to find out why her bones broke so easily. Although she is just a teenager, she is diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis and a bone disorder that normally afflicts people over 55. She has never had gastrointestinal issues, but her doctors test her for celiac disease anyway because something is obviously wrong with the way she is absorbing and/or metabolizing calcium. Read More »

Osteoporosis and Pilates

As baby boomers segue from child-rearing to retirement, they find themselves bombarded by the media with information about osteoporosis. It makes sense, considering that more than 44 million American men and women age 50 and older have osteoporosis or its precursor, osteopenia. So between news articles about calcium and vitamin D, Sally Field promoting the drug Boniva on TV commercials and the now-ubiquitous term “weight-bearing exercise,” we are all hearing a great deal about this epidemic.

Yet controversy abounds, with new findings questioning the benefits of calcium as well as the risks versus benefits of osteoporosis medications. The conflicting information is enough to overwhelm even the most media-savvy consumer. But the one continuously advocated method of addressing the condition is exercise. Not only does exercise help to maintain and build strong bones, but it can improve balance and reflexes and thereby prevent falls, the most dangerous threat to those with fragile bones. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 60 percent of those who fracture a hip still cannot walk independently a year later. Clearly, the goal should be to stay strong, agile and upright. Read More »

>