I first got seriously interested in the devastating effects of gluten on brain and behaviour almost a decade ago after listening to a recording of a talk by Dr. Thomas O'Bryan at a meeting of the International and American Association of Certified Clinical Nutritionists (IAACN).
Before that, I was aware of the dangers of wheat and had taken myself and many patients off it with great results. Late, I developed a resource pack to help those wanting to free themselves:
Originally, many wheat-free enthusiasts still ate gluten in the form of kamut and spelt, including me. I would sprout kamut and make a delicious raw, dehydrated bread or pizza crust from it.
I didn't notice negative effects unless I ate too much, but I did notice that once I started eating it, I craved more beyond satisfaction of my hunger.
After listening to Dr O'Bryan's talk and doing extensive research of my own on the neurodevelopmental effects of gluten, I personally gave it up. I didn't make a decision to give it up from my mind, though. It was a gut reaction and a loss of all desire for it. I had no cravings or remorse. I just stopped because once I understood the impact it had on me, I wanted no more of it.
There were several changes I did notice AFTER giving up gluten entirely.
My energy and stamina become extremely high. I could sleep less and feel more energized. I became more productive and clear about my business goals. I became more motivated to be successful and get known.
My brain seemed more clear and less unfocused.
Neurological Effects of Gluten
In 2006, my paper on gluten intolerance in regards to developmental disorders in children was published in the Journal of Nutritional Perspectives.
What follows is data I found while researching for that paper.
The Neurological problems associate with gluten intolerance became known as early as 1908 in a book titled Sprue and its Treatment by Carnegie Brown. In it, Brown described two patients who developed “peripheral neuritis”, which is inflammation of the nerves in the hands and feet. Later, in 1925, Elders reported the association between “sprue” and ataxia, which is a balance disorder.
Since then, gluten intolerance has been associated with a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions, with or without intestinal problems.
The list of conditions associated with gluten includes:
- cerebellar ataxia
- peripheral neuropathy
- brain stem dysfunction
- mononeuritis multiplex
- Guillain-Barre-like syndrome
- Huntington's disease
Gluten is also associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including:
- Aspersers and
Wow. That's some lineup.
Changes to cells and blood supply in the central nervous system have also been associated with gluten intolerance.
Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how gluten affects the neuromuscular systems. The mechanisms include autoimmune reaction and inflammation, malnutrition, and opioid excess.
Find Out More
On the interview with Dr. O'Bryan, we discussed many of these problems and how to determine if you are affected by gluten intolerance.
Part 1: Gluten-Free – Is it Just a Fad?
Part 2: The Gluten-Free Fad
I recommend that you listen to the recordings, come to the next show in the series to hear about the effects of gluten from a patient/health coach perspective and watch your inbox to learn more about the mechanisms by which gluten affects your brain.
Until then, try to go a week without gluten and post your experience to the blog. Use this free resource kit to help you go gluten-free:
Please share your thoughts and leave a comment below.