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Does Gluten Affect the Brain?

Does Gluten Affect the Brain?

What are the effects of Gluten on the Brain? There are some people who feel a sensation that is often described as brain fog. They cannot think clearly, as if they had taken some kind of drug. In fact, some people start thinking that they may be experiencing the first symptoms of a mental disease like dementia.

In some cases, behind these symptoms that last for years there cause is a gluten intolerance. This is due to the fact that gluten is more harmful for our health and brain than what people may believe.

Can gluten cause diseases?

There is a lot of information about senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it is very difficult to find information about gluten or celiac disease. More specifically, about how products with gluten confuse or fog the brain of those who suffer gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Consequently, this can trigger a lack of attention and mental clarity.

This brain fog has nothing to do with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression or other mental diseases. Even if the symptoms can look very similar.

Gluten-free written on a blackboard

Traditional medicine has not payed enough attention to the effects of gluten on the body

Can gluten cause mental confusion?

There are many people who spend many years of their lives is some kind of mental fog. That is, they are not capable of focusing nor processing information properly when working or studying. This can happen several times in a single day, but the causes are unknown.

Bread toast with a sad face

It may be due to the food we eat, such as a protein from bread or pasta

Does Gluten Fog our Brain?

All the products that contain gluten come from cereal grains. Gluten is a protein from cereals like wheat, rye, oats and barley. Above all, gluten can trigger the previous symptoms in those who are more sensitive.

This is due to some brain reactions and some chemicals that alter the hormone balance.

As a result, we can suffer several psychological problems, that go from depression to autism or schizophrenia. But most of the times, it just causes confusion after a meal that had gluten.

Effects of gluten on the brain

Usually, that mind god comes from a gluten intolerance or gluten allergy

Gluten, the drug from wheat

Gluten is very difficult to digest. In many cases, its amino acids are not completely broken down by the intestine. These protein fragments are called peptides and, depending on the intestinal mucosa, they can alter other substances when they enter the bloodstream. For instance, endorphins, which perform important functions in the brain and which are involved in the feeling of pain, happiness or appetite control.

Wheat field

These peptides are known as gluten peptides or opiate peptides. The word “opiate” comes from the word “opium” which refers to the effect of these peptides on the central nervous system

Effects of Gluten Intolerance

Gluten peptides can trigger allergic reactions that cause inflammation. But this is not like the sting from an insect when you can see the inflammation clearly in some part of the body. In the case of gluten, the inflammation affects the bowel, which is why it is more hidden and harder to diagnose.

It becomes even harder to find out when the gluten allergy causes inflammation on the brain. Unlike the skin, the brain tissue does not experiences pain, itchiness or swelling.

Headaches, mental fog

This allergic inflammation caused by the gluten peptides on the brain is quite subtle. Therefore, it is very difficult to detect.

Gluten Intolerance and lack of iron

Even though gluten intolerance affects mainly the bowel, its symptoms are not only indigestion. Rather, it can cause chronic fatigue with an apparent unknown cause. In other cases, gluten sensitivity can trigger many more problems, like anemia or constant fatigue due to an iron deficiency.

A bad absorption of iron tends to be the result of a gluten allergy. In these cases, when we remove gluten from the diet, our body absorbs iron properly once again.

Woman touching her forehead

Gluten sensitivity can also produce the opposite effect to fatigue, that is, chronic nervousness. Skin and teeth problems can be due to a gluten allergy

What are the effects of Gluten intolerance on our body?

Stomach acid deficiency

A bad digestion of gluten and a gastric acid deficiency can reveal a gluten allergy or celiac disease. It can also trigger different effects, including the ones caused by taking medicines that inhibit the production of stomach acid.

On the other hand, a lack of zinc and vitamin B6 can also trigger a stomach acid deficiency. Sometimes, the acidity or heart burn can be due to healthy diets or an underlying celiac disease.

Damaged intestinal mucosa

When there is not enough stomach acid, the gluten particles are not completely digested. Therefore, they cannot enter the intestinal mucosa, which damages the bowel lining. This problem can happen for years and the patient may not be even aware of the causes.

The main causes of a damaged intestinal mucosa come from a weak intestinal flora. This can be due to an excess of antibiotics, laxatives or other medicines, a high blood pressure, or unhealthy eating habits. All these factors trigger chronic inflammatory processes, like a omega- 3 fatty acid deficiency. Moreover, it can also be due to sedentarism, lack of sunlight or a hormone imbalance.

Wholegrain Bread

Gluten produces the effects described in the previous points. Cereals with gluten also trigger chronic acidity and damage the intestinal flora

Gluten-free Diet improves the mental clarity

Those who suffer celiac disease or a special gluten sensitivity suffer the problems we have described previously. Therefore, it would be useful to follow a gluten-free diet, in order to test its effects on the body.

This is the only possible way of finding out if we just lack energy or if it is due to a gluten intolerance. To test this out, you will have to avoid eating any product with gluten for four weeks. You can test this on children to see if they suffer gluten intolerance or not.

Woman meditating

If these problems are due to gluten allergy, your focus and attention will improve after removing it from the diet. Moreover, it will also improve your mood and the mental confusion will disappear too.

Follow a Gluten-free Diet

Gluten is available in the most common cereals. For example, wheat, rye, barley, oats and thereof (bakery, pastries, flour, bread, biscuits, cakes, etc.).

But let’s not forget that it is also present in many pre-cooked products (soups, sauces, desserts, sweets, etc). In fact, many flours use it as a thickener, so we should avoid these products if we want to follow a gluten-free diet.

Heart-shaped bowls with fruit, nuts, quinoa...

Gluten-free Products

How to Follow a Gluten-free Diet

Following a gluten-free diet is not difficult, you will just need a little bit of discipline:

  • Instead of using wheat flour, we can use other type of flour, like buckwheat, corn or millet. If you want to bake a cake, you will have to choose a special flour.
  • Choose whole bread from corn, millet, whole rice or buckwheat whole bread instead of wheat or rye.
  • Replace traditional noodles for buckwheat, corn or soy noodles.
  • For breakfast, replace oat cereals for gluten-free cereals or flakes.
When you go shopping, pay attention to the product label or purchase those cataloged as gluten-free. At the same time, pay attention to your guts and treat any problem you may experience with a colon cleansing if necessary.

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