Gluten has many negative effects on the brain and I found some well written information on the subject including one of the most common neurological diseases associated with gluten sensitivity, cerebellar ataxia online at the Brain Mind Center at Alpha Online, a division of Environmed Research, founded in 1984 at Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Suicidal ideation or the thoughts of suicide and nightmares are symptoms of gluten ingestion in the person with gluten sensitivity and we need to be aware of this.
Here's an excerpt from Gluten and the brain:
Celiac disease is the best studied form of delayed pattern food allergy caused by eating wheat and other cereal grains. A surprising range of disease is triggered by the proteins in these foods, collectively referred to as "gluten". Celiac disease may present as a vague illness, even a mental illness.
Patients often complain of dysphoria with fatigue, difficulty in concentration, loss of recent memory, irritability, loss of pleasure and interests, often with sleep disturbances. Sleep and dreaming are influenced by food problems. Most people eat their major meal in the evening and snack at night. This food is digested and absorbed during the night and symptoms often emerge as you sleep. Some allergenic effects tend to peak at night - asthma, migraine, body pains, and itching are often at their worst. Sleep disturbances include difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking and nightmares.
Gluten and Cerebellar Ataxia
One example of specific brain injury from eating gluten is cerebellar ataxia. The cerebellum looks after the coordination and smoothing of movements so that problems here show up as movement disorders. Gluten sensitivity, with or without classical celiac disease symptoms and intestinal pathology, is a treatable cause of cerebellar ataxia. Bushara et al reported: We investigated the prevalence of abnormally high serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG anti-gliadin antibody titers and typical human lymphocyte antigen (HLA) genotypes in 50 patients presenting with cerebellar ataxia who were tested for molecularly characterized hereditary ataxias. A high prevalence of gluten sensitivity was found in patients with sporadic (7/26; 27%) and autosomal dominant (9/24; 37%) ataxias, including patients with known ataxia. Patients with hereditary ataxia (including asymptomatic patients with known ataxia genotype) should be considered for screening for gluten sensitivity and gluten-free diet trials.
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