Gluten sensitivity is not primarily a gut problem. The G.I. tract is where gluten is first ingested into the body and reaction to gluten was first discovered. Recent scientific studies have shown that of those patients with elevated antibodies to gluten ,only one in nine manifested bowel symptoms. The brain and nervous system are one of the main areas that are damaged by inflammation caused by gluten. Most celiac patients also have headaches and balance problems. When the cause of neurological disease was unknown, 57% were shown to have elevated antibodies to gluten. Most of these patients do not have any G.I. symptoms. Gluten sensitivity can be one of the causes of ataxia which is the loss of balance and coordination. Peripheral neuropathy’s can also fall into this category. An Italian study showed that a gluten-free diet seems to protect individuals with a sensitivity to gluten from developing additional autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease can attack any tissue in the body such as the thyroid gland or the nervous system. Anyone with a neurological or autoimmune disease of an unknown cause should have antibody testing to gluten performed. A good resource for ataxia and gluten sensitivity is Marios Hadjivassiliou M.D.who published a paper in The Lancet Neurology titled Gluten Sensitivity from the Gut to the Brain.
Fred Lewin D.C.