Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gluten is toxic to the brain

Gluten is toxic to the brain. There is ongoing accumulating evidence that gluten is harmful to the brain and nerves of the body even if a person does not have celiac disease. Those with celiac disease are typically affected much more severely. In this blog I have reviewed several scientific papers recently that document the adverse affects of gluten on the brain. I also reviewed research published in early 1900’s that proved the toxic effect of wheat on animals. Seizures in dogs and pasture bloat in cattle has been known about for years yet cereal grains have become an increasingly large part of the Western diet. During the same time obesity, autoimmune diseases and celiac disease are reaching epidemic proportions.
New DVD reveals facts of gluten's adverse affects on the brain.
Dr. Ron Hogan, editor of ScottFree, has a new DVD, Smarten up. It is a compilation of his presentations on the effects of gluten on the brain. The DVD is extremely detailed and informative. I must however warn who purchase it that Ron presents the material in a lecture format. Those who didn’t care for sitting through classes in school may find his approach a bit dry. But if you are looking for a detailed explanation of how gluten adversely affects the brain, you will not find a more thorough review of the information anywhere else.

An educator shares real world successes of the gluten free.

Ron recently retired from a lifetime in education. He has personally lived gluten free after his diagnosis of celiac disease as an adult. Unfortunately, he lost a brother to lymphoma that was likely due to undiagnosed celiac disease. He has extensively researched the effect of gluten on the brain. In the DVD he shares both scientific research and his personal real life stories as an educator with the success of the gluten free diet in kids with ADD, behavior problems, autism, and learning disabilities. I encourage everyone with an interest in this area to purchase a copy of his DVD.

Let he who has eyes to see, gluten adversely affects the brain
These adverse affects of gluten on the body, especially the brain, are evident to those who have eyes to see. Yet Dr. Ron Hogan, Ed.D, author “Dangerous Grains”, Dr. Rodney Ford,, Dr. Ken Fine, founder of Enterolab, and I are considered bit too radical in our beliefs for most of the doctors with whom we work and associate. We are out of step because we are validating the experiences of many people who are chronically ill until they remove gluten from their diet. If we agree with the patients who report to us their positive experiences of a gluten free diet despite failing to meet strict diagnostic criteria for celiac disease we are accused of imposing an undue and unnecessary burden on people who do not need to be on a gluten free diet because they don’t really have celiac disease (yet). In fact, in my own gastroenterology practice a couple of my partners have berated, teased or ridiculed a couple of the nurses who have adopted a gluten free diet of being part of my “gluten cult”.

Dr. Ford and his experience with gluten affecting the brain.

You may also learn more from my good friend and colleague from New Zealand, Dr. Ford, who has a nice review in the newsletter ScottFree that also available online at He has much more detail in his books that can be purchased online at the Food Doc e-store.

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MS said...

Hello There, As a coeliac diagnosed at age 34, and now 10 years later suffering neurological symptoms despite a super-strict gluten-free diet, I applaud you for recognising that this illness takes more than the gut by stealth. My tortured gut is now incredibly well; not so my cerebellum. I have a wonderful family and career, which have both suffered because my illness was overlooked for more than 10 years, despite me repeatedly suggesting to doctors that I had CD. The neurological problems create more trouble and angst than any bowel issue ever did. As for your staff getting that "Gluten Cult" crap - BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Stick with it people, you're on the right track. MS. Adelaide, Australia.

Olive Kaiser said...

Bravo! I'm so happy see a few courageous practitioners speak out on the scope of gluten intolerance.

An immunologist researcher who is quite clear on the effects of gluten on the brain and many other tissues is Dr. Aristo Vojdani, PhD, MT, Immunosciences Laboratories (a research lab) His research and diagrams of the differences between gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease are posted at and are very helpful. According to his diagrams, celiac disease is just one subset of gluten reactivity, and gluten intolerance is just as dangerous as celiac disease. Dr. Vojdani believes that stress, chemical injury (toxins), and infections can trigger gluten intolerance through damage to the gut wall even without the gene. But the gene can predispose to a gluten reaction. Dr. Vojdani also recommends testing for gliadin, gluteomorphins, tTG and wheat, all IgA, IgG, and IgM. That's quite a few more tests looking for more antibodies in more places than anyone else and his higher rate of positives reflects the extra detail. He also recommends tests for cross reactive foods such as corn, egg, soy, milk, and a number of markers for damage to susceptible organs and tissues throughout the body. He believes this is more comprehensive than just checking the villi since he believes damage can happen in any number of places, not necessarily always the villi. As you, Dr. Ken Fine, Dr. Ford, and Ron Hoggan experienced, this viewpoint is not well known, well understood, or accepted yet, but it fits the patient population very well. Some of Dr. Vojdani's research is posted on on the Neuroimmunology Labs chart, and also at at the bottom of the page.

Some of Dr. Vojdani's research is a followup of similar research by Mario Hadjivassiliou of the UK.

Dr. Thomas O'Bryan, DC, CCN, DACBN has been quite vocal in his espousal of these viewpoints. His research review DVD, Unlocking the Mystery of Wheat and Gluten Intolerance is eyeopening.

Dr. Cynthia Rudert, Atlanta, GA is also open to a wider scope of gluten reactivity.

Shari Lieberman PhD, CNS, FACN has also written a book The Gluten Connection, that underlines these concepts.

If there are other practitioners anywhere who encourage a wider view of gluten intolerance beyond villi damage I would like to know of them.

I have no financial interest in the books, DVD, labs and concepts I've mentioned. My website is non commercial.

Patients and practitioners need to have courage to hear and evaluate other points of view besides "celiac speak" that applies by comparison, to a relatively small percentage of the true gluten intolerant population. It appears that more patients are misled by incomplete testing and too narrow "villi damage dx criteria" than are helped.

Olive Kaiser

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