Gut, Gluten & The Brain

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How Much Do We Know About Gluten And The Brain? The Answer Is: Not Much

Dear Patients & Friends,

The grains of today are much higher in gluten content than the grains of 100 years ago.

Why should this matter? It matters because gluten, for some people, can cause all kinds of problems. And those sensitivities are genetic and liver related (how well you can detox).

Do you need to have celiac disease to have gluten sensitivity? Not necessarily. Research shows that the body will create anti-bodies against gliadin (a protein in wheat) and also produce cytokines (an inflammatory molecule) that can cause brain inflammation. If you’re body is good at brain detox (something called Autophagy) you may have no problems. If it’s not …

In the fast paced, frenetic society called America where kids are given pop tarts or leggo my eggo waffles in the morning and pasta for dinner (because it’s easier than preparing a home cooked meal) the fall-out may be children with the following:

1. learning disorders

2. autism or a spectrum disorder

3. ADD or ADHD

4. Digestive complaints that don’t seem to have any diagnosable cause.

If you’ve got a child or grandchild with undiagnosed brain issues the problem could be what they’re eating.

Eat well and keep in touch,

Dr. Olejak



Can Gluten Make You Autistic?

WHEN Andre H. Lagrange, a neurologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, saw the ominous white spots on the patient’s brain scan, he considered infection or lymphoma, a type of cancer. But tests ruled out both. Meanwhile, anti-epilepsydrugs failed to halt the man’s seizures. Stumped, Dr. Lagrange turned to something the mother of the 30-year-old man kept repeating. The fits coincided, she insisted, with spells of constipation and diarrhea.

That, along with an odd rash, prompted Dr. Lagrange to think beyond the brain. Antibody tests, followed by an intestinal biopsy, indicated celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the gut triggered by the gluten proteins in wheat and other grains. Once on a gluten-free diet, the man’s seizures stopped; those brain lesions gradually disappeared. He made a “nearly complete recovery,” Dr. Lagrange told me.

I began encountering case descriptions like this some years ago as I researched autoimmune disease. The first few seemed like random noise in an already nebulous field. But as I amassed more — describing seizures, hallucinations,psychotic breaks and even, in one published case, what looked like regressive autism, all ultimately associated with celiac disease — they began to seem less like anomalies, and more like a frontier in celiac research.

They tended to follow a similar plot. What looked like neurological or psychiatric symptoms appeared suddenly. The physician ran through a diagnostic checklist without success. Drugs directed at the brain failed. Some clue suggestive of celiac disease was observed. The diagnosis was made. And the patient recovered on a gluten-free diet.

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