Gluten and the Brain

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Gluten and the Brain

Did you know that many people who are sensitive to gluten don’t get any gut symptoms at all? Many of them are affected by neurological symptoms instead. Coeliac UK list tiredness, headaches, tingling and numbness and poor muscle co-ordination as some of the symptoms of CD.

‘Brain fog’ is really common amongst those who are sensitive to gluten, and often one of the first symptoms to reappear if one becomes ‘glutened’. This includes problems with attention, concentration and short term memory loss. It can be difficult to find words and people may feel disorientated.

But the brain can be harder to repair than the gut. More than one third of diagnosed coeliacs suffer from depression, even when on a gluten free diet1. There is also an increased association between coeliac disease and anxiety disorders. Diagnosed coeliacs remain more anxious, although this may be because getting safe food is still a concern.

Headaches and migraines are also common. In one study, 30% of coeliacs and 56% of those with gluten sensitivity experienced severe headaches. A GF diet may help resolve migraine, but a proportion of coeliacs continue to experience them.

Gluten has a profound effect on the brain and that may continue even once you are on a gluten free diet. Yet, it is not common knowledge and it can be quite hard to pin down. If you go to the GP with headaches, low mood and anxiety, your doctor can easily be forgiven for not having gluten sensitivity uppermost in their mind! If you suspect that gluten may be the cause of unexplained symptoms, then keeping a food diary may be useful before seeing your GP or a registered nutritionist.


We’re still crowdfunding to for our range of gluten free flours – please do get involved, we need your help to make our campaign a success! Visit our campaign page here.