Brain | nerves

Brain | nerves can be severely harmed by gluten


Neurological symptoms are a common way to present with food allergy. When you, or your child, are unwell, it can make you “sick, tired and grumpy”. The most common food to cause this is gluten.


Brain-nerves can be harmed by gluten

Did you know that:

  • Over half of celiac have some neurological symptoms from gluten.
  • Many un-diagnosed neurological diseases are attributed to gluten.
  • Headaches and migraines can be triggered by gluten.
  • ADHD can be a gluten symptom.
  • Depression and agitation can be caused by gluten sensitivity.

Headaches and migraine are often caused by gluten

A significant proportion of people with migraine may have coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Consequently, a gluten-free diet may lead to an improvement in the migraine in these people. A very high prevalence of headache (migraine and/or tension headaches) was also found in coeliac disease patients (46%) when compared with a control group (29%) (Cicarelli, 2003).

It is well know that foods can trigger headache/migraine. Gluten is the prime suspect.

The gluten-brains concept

I have written up this hypothesis in the following paper:

Ford RPK:The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease.
Med Hypotheses; 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40

The conclusion states: “Evidence points to the nervous system as the prime site of gluten damage. This theory is attractive because it gives a unifying answer that explains the following conundrums: the mechanism of the non-gut symptoms of celiac disease; the behaviour disturbances of gluten reactions; the psychiatric and personality disorders; the neurological symptoms; the autonomic system disturbances; why such small amounts of gluten can cause such major reactions by the amplification effect of the nervous system (not dependent on any gut damage); and why gluten can create such a diverse range of symptoms, because any agent that causes widespread neurological harm (think of multiple sclerosis and Syphilis) can generate almost any array of symptoms.

Also, it can explain why celiac patients with extensive gut damage can be asymptomatic. The histological gut damage in celiac disease is not mediated through this neurologic system. It is caused by local toxicity to the bowel in susceptible people. If these people are not highly sensitised to gluten, then they may not experience any symptoms mediated through neural networks.

The implication of gluten causing neurologic network damage is immense. With estimates that at least one in 10 people are affected by gluten, the health impact in enormous. Understanding the gluten syndrome is important for the health of the global community.”

Need help with diagnosis?

You are invited to have a “virtual” consultation at The eClinic. This will help you with the diagnosis of gluten sensitivity which could be causing significant neurological harm.
You can also read more about the brain and nerve affects of gluten in Dr Ford’s book: Full of It! The shocking truth about gluten. or the ebook: Gluten Brains