Celiac disease and Alzheimer's linked?

We at Custom Choice Cereal consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to offer monthly Q&A sessions with renown celiac expert Dr. Stephen Wangen. This is not only a great service for you but also teaches us things about the gluten-free diet and celiac disease that we did not know about.

Someone asked whether there was a connection between eating wheat and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Wangen assumed that no connection had been found because no one had looked for one. He decided to dig further and found the following from a 2008 article published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology:

“Two female patients presented with cognitive decline that was attributed to Alzheimer dementia but ameliorated after the initiation of gluten-free diet. The third patient had peripheral neuropathy that completely resolved after the initiation of gluten-free diet.”
Lurie, et. al, “Celiac Disease Diagnosed in the Elderly,” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Jan 2008, Vol. 42(1):59-61.

Science DailyCustom Choice Cereal did some digging as well and found that researches at the Mayo Clinic investigated the connection between celiac disease and Alzheimer’s in a 2006 study. Science Daily reported that they analyzed a case series of 13 patients demonstrating cognitive decline within two years of the onset of celiac disease symptom onset or worsening. At that time, Dr. Joseph Murray (who explains celiac disease in several videos on our website) suspected the following theories to explain the connection between celiac disease and cognitive decline:

  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Inflammatory cytokines – chemical messengers of inflammation that could contribute to problems in the brain
  • An immune attack on the brain that may occur in some patients with celiac disease

We at Custom Choice Cereal thought that this was very interesting and worth sharing with you. Please excuse the very ‘medical’ nature of this blog post!

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